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this fig-tree, compassionately answered, “ LORD, LET IT ALONE THIS YEAR ALSO,"

Let us endeavour to apply this parable.--I believe that it will need but a little fair examination to confess that too many, like the barren fig-tree, only cumber the earth. The great Lord of the vineyard, who planted man in a good and fruitful soil, and whose providential hand raised him to'a fair and full growth, has, I am afraid, too often looked in vain for the harvest of his love and care; and after that full and perfect growth, three years perhaps have passed without even the blossom of the fruit appearing, the anxious care of the first dressers of the vineyard, his parents, have perhaps availed little, though they have anxiously removed from about their tender plants (as far as in them lay) every noxious weed, and pruned out numberless superfluous shoots of folly, and luxuriant error. After all, no promise of fruit appears; yet manured with the advantages of education, and fenced round with the experience and caution of aged vinedressers, much might have been expected.

The human mind is then the fig-tree in the parable, and the dresser of the vineyard, there represented, the Saviour himself; whose charity and love appears in the kind expressive language, LORD, LET IT ALONE THIS

In the picturesque scenery of life, parents are the first dressers of the tender plants, committed by the great master of the vineyard to their care; until, at length, the young labourer is thought


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of sufficient age and experience to take care of his own vine, and then it arrives that either it improves and comes to bear good fruit, or it is useless and unprofitable as the fig-tree in the parable; the weeds of sloth often choke our good intentions, numerous bad habits spring up which prevent the growth of virtue, the frequent blights of bad example destroy the opening blossom, and the tree withers just as it has begun to bloom. It is barren and without fruit. Wretched is the situation of that fig-tree, should the lord of the vineyard turn his all-seeing eye towards it at the moment, and exclaim, " Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground ?"

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But the dresser of the vineyard answered, LORD, LET IT ALONE THIS YEAR ALSO; and it should appear by what follows in the parable, that the tree was spared, for he adds," and if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that, thou shalt cut it down." There is something grateful and delightful to the human breast in the idea, ' to spare, it is compounded of love, mercy and charity; and be it but for a dog, the heart warms up with a glow of honest affection to save an old acquaintance. Let us recollect seriously how mercifully from year to year we have been spared; and yet, alas! one day passes on after another, without the slightest appearance of blossom, the tree still remains barren, that with a little attention might have become fair and fruitful. Melancholy the idea, that it should remain so until the time may arrive when it must be cut down; however, a happy circumstance it is, that the lord of

the vineyard has permitted even the unfruitful fig-tree to remain for this year also. Take then a little care, and the blossom will soon appear; it is not so much trouble to attend to it as is pretended, the culture is easy, and it only requires to be looked to morning and night. The lord of the vineyard will then admire the fruitful fig-tree, he will praise it above the others in the vineyard, he will rejoice over it, and allow it to remain to flourish upon earth, until the time when he will transplant it where no chilling blights can hurt it, and where it will bloom in the sunshine of eternal glory.

To unbend from the more serious reflections, a new year's day generally brings with it a variety of new plans, regulations, improvements, and resolutions. It is astonishing how very clever, how very attentive to business, and how very industrious every one intends to be. Tom Drowsy, who is really, when perfectly awake, the most active and pains-taking fellow in the world, resolves to begin the new year as he ought, and to rise every morning at seven o'clock, and so he does the very first morning. It it pleasant to hear Tom declare how delightful it is to rise early, what spirits it gives a man for business through the day; in short, he is perfectly astonished how any body can endure lying a-bed, and adds the sage observation, that if we lose an hour in the morning, we run after it the whole day, without being able to overtake it. The next morning, the careless stupid servant girl forgets to call Tom as usual, and the night preceding the day after, Tom staid out very late; Tom begins now to say less about


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rising early, and at length he becomes again what he
always was, and I fear ever will be, the same identi-
cal Tom Drowsy. Bill Blunder is another of these
anniversary reformists; the first day of every new
year he buys a new pocket book, with ruled pages
for cash, memorandums, &c. in which he is now actu-
ally determined to keep clear and correct accompts ;
and so he does, for in the very first page you may no-
tice-Cash received of Mr. Wilson, five pounds--Cash
lent to Mr. Tilson, ten shillings and sixpence-
bought a new broom for the maids, three shillings-
dinner, seven shillings-spent at the play, entrance,
six shillings; in the coffee-room, five shillings; inci-
dental expences, three pounds three shillings. How-
ever, the next night Bill comes home tipsy, puts off
his entries until the next morning, and forgets one
half of them; and a day or two after, Bill positively
forgets whether he lent Mr. Tilson a two pound, or
Mr. Tilson lent it him. Bill's accompts are now be.
come so completely puzzled, that he gives up the at-
tempt to disentangle them, and the remaining pages
will, if he chuses to begin afresh, serve for the next
year. Tom Tarnish is the next anniversary reformist
that I have noticed; he is always resolved upon the
first day of a new year to begin the vita perfecta, to
forsake all his bad habits, to begin to study hard, and
to be discreet and prudent. . The first day of the new
year, Tom is always found shut up in his chambers,
poring over immense folios ; he looks wise, and steady;
his father and his friends, who happen to call to wish
him a happy new year, with difficulty get admittance
to see him, and when they enter his room it resembles

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from the scenery of the volumes on the floor, Stone. henge. Tom is in the midst, but full of his new scheme; he scarcely notices his father, and they all leave him astonished at the new life he is about to lead. The Friday following, his old school-fellow, Harry Scamper, looks in, asks him to take a walk; Tom leaves the folios on the floor, sallies forth, determined to return immediately ; stays out till three o'clock in the morning; comes home drunk in a hackney coach ; has lost his watch and money; reflects the next day at breakfast, and finds himself the very same Tom Tarnish that he was the last year. Jack Ledger is a very different character to the former; he has actually kept an account for several years of all his comings in and goings out. Jack Ledger can tell to a shilling his balance at the year's end, and can fill up the schedule of the income tax without a moment's hesitation. There never was a man so correct as Jack Ledger ; but, alas, Jack's mind is a mere waste book, in which nothing has been set down but buying and selling, cash received, and cash paid. Jack's ideas are ruled for pounds, shilings, and pence; and it would not be at all surprising, after dissection, to find his brain a complete numeration table; in short, there is nothing of value to Jack, but value received. This, now, is a truly methodical character, and every new year will begin with as much correctness, and continue as correct as the former.

Nothing can be more pleasant than to be clear and consistent without the slavish exactness of the common trader. Let us endeavour to be as correct and

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