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perplexity and doubts he had so long labored under, as to the Divine Providence. 'What you have seen,' said he, 'seems astonishing and unaccountable; but in reality, nothing could be more just and equitable; which, for want of your right understanding, has been so great an offence to you. To prove this, know that the first man from whom the cup was taken, had the best compensation made for his kindness, the cup having occasioned great mischiefs while he had it. He is, indeed, courteous and hospitable, but has one great failing, which tarnishes those good deeds; that is, an inclination to drink more than becomes him, and especially when this cup was brought out. Therefore, the best office I could do was to remove this temptation, that he might be brought to a better government of himself. When I had taken away this snare, I left it with the morose inhospitable man, as a means of his destruction, that by it he might fall into intemperance, diseases, and even death itself; for there is an enchantment in this cup, that whoever possesses it will be in danger of being bewitched by it. But perhaps you think nothing can be said for my strangling the little innocent babe in the cradle, and in a place where I had been so civilly entertained. Know, then, that this was done in great mercy to the parents, and no real hurt to the child, who is now in happiness in heaven. This gentleman and his
wife had hitherto lived in great reputation for their piety, justice, sobriety, and other christian virtues; but, above all, their charity was eminent. Divers of their sick and indigent neighbours owed their subsistence, next under God, to their munificence; but since the birth of this child, their minds have degenerated into a love of this world. They were no longer charitable, but their whole thoughts have been employed how to enrich themselves, and leave a great fortune to this infant and its posterity. Hence I took this momentary life from the body of the child, that the souls of the parents might live for ever; and I appeal to you if this was not the greatest act of kindness and friendship to them. There remains one action more to defend, my destroying the servant of the gentleman who had used me with such extraordinary civility, and who professed a great esteem for his fidelity. But this was the most faithful instance of gratitude I could show to one who used me so kindly; for this servant was in fact a rogue, and had entered into a conspiracy to rob and kill his master. Now know, "that Divine Providence is just, and the ways of God are not as your ways, nor his thoughts as your thoughts; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher than your ways, and his thoughts than your thoughts." At these words he vanished, leaving the good man to meditate on what had
passed, and the reasons given for it; who hereupon, transported with joy and amazement, lifted up his hands and eyes to heaven, and gave glory to God, who had delivered him from his anxiety about the ways of Divine Providence. Satisfied as to the wisdom of God's dealings, and those unseen reasons for them which surpass all human conception, he returned with cheerfulness to his cell, and spent the residue of his life in piety and peace.
FINDING OF MOSES.
SLOW glides the Nile; amid the margin flags,
The summer south wind breathes with gentle sigh,
A GENTLEMAN, a man of genius and discernment, whose ill health had compelled me to banish him into the country, and whose disrelish for the joys of the bottle, or the pleasures of the chase, naturally condemned him to many hours of solitude, in his retirement wrote me word some weeks since, that he had read through the books I had recommended to him to take down, and desired me to tell him what the world offered new. I was sure his understanding would countenance what I had to propose to him. I recommended, instead of new books, the oldest in the world; I advised him to the bible; and rested my future credit with him upon it, that if he would give it as fair a reading as he had done the trifles which had of late engaged his attention, he would confess it was the only book in the world that deserved it. I have received many letters from him since, and not one of them without confirmations of the assent, which his first brought to my opinion; not one, without encomiums on the particular part in which he was at that time engaged, amounting almost to an enthusiastic rapture.
I would wish that a real instance of this kind might recommend the same road to pleasure, to a