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position and connexions, and in such store of romantic sentiments and fine-toned sensibilities as might easily pass, for a time, for religious affinities and a semi-moral enthusiasm. By and bye the real cares and duties of life came. The illusions of youth passed away, as they must. Accomplishments lost their charm, and beauty its lustre. The realities of life grew common-place, as they always do. Life is not what it seemed in her young dream. Romance Aies from a domestic hearth. Suffering and sorrow came, and the stern trial of her strength and patience. Emotion, sweet before, grows acrid now. Sentiment turns into fretfulness, and enthusiasm to discontent and disappointment. Duty is burdensome, and home is insipid, and its ties a bondage, and society a mockery. All this bitter falling off is cloaked to the common eye under the show of good appearances, but the feeling of it is more intense for that. Her life is a failure; her lamp has gone out; and well it might go out—well it might -- every page of Scripture and every lesson of human experience predicted that it would.
I have seen a man, who at the outset designed to be only prudent, industrious and enterprising, turn at length into a sordid miser, his soul smothered under his gains, his heart eaten up by the cankerous touch of his own gold, and the whole man, body and soul, bound hand and foot, a helpless slave to the goods of this world; no, not its goods, but to the mocking shadow of its goods. His lamp has gone out, and how could it but go out, with such a shallow outfit as he started with ?
I have seen the man who had too much conscience to set out with the purpose to deceive and swindle; he meant only to be shrewder and more vigilant than others. But in the drive of business, and amid growing excitements and larger baits, honesty faltered, and conscience grew accommodating, and opportunity more inviting. Integrity slipped away little by little, he knows not when or how, and now his whole heart is false, his whole character unstrung and demoralized. His lamp has gone out, and no wonder ; as well might a pasteboard ship breast the surging waves of the sea.
So all around us, in every sphere of life, lamp after lamp goes out in moral stench and darkness. And why ? Of necessity and of course, for lack of oil, upon the same principle that any human purposes fail, which depend on forethought and accumulated resources and reserved power, as character does, more essentially, more universally, than anything else.
Whence shall we derive those needful resources and that reserved strength, which are sure to be wanted ? I answer, from among the moral elements of the soul and the spiritual influences of religion--in early and vigorous self-culture, and that uplifting, sanctifying spirit, that comes from God through Christ.
WHAT IS THY PORTION ? What is thy wealth, reader? Is it money, or houses, or lands? Hast thou gold, and bills, and bonds ? Dost thou heap up riches in thy coffer? or dost thou make the bank thy treasury ? Surely thou hast heard that riches have wings; and that many who are rich for this world are poor indeed for that which is to come! Ask then, of God, that he may show thee the riches of his grace, and make thee a partaker of the riches of his glory.
What is thy strength ? If it be that of a vigorous frame, a broad chest, and a sinewy arm, the ague may shake thee, the fever burn thee, and consumption may waste thee, till thou art weaker than other men. Dost thou ever think of this ? Art thou ready for the throes of pain, and the languor of sickness? Be assured thou wilt have them. Go to the Strong for strength, and to the Wise for wisdom, and then, as thy day is, thy strength shall be.
What is thy choice? Is it the applause of the world ? pomp? ambition ? fame? Why these are playthings which are soon broken! glittering bubbles that soon burst ! Is it wise to choose food that will not keep? garments that will not wear? and possessions which are here to day, and gone
to morrow? Choose something better! Make a better choice, for thou canst hardly make a worse.
Choose the one thing needful; the pearl of great price, the hope of eternal glory.
What is thy zeal? Is it for trifles, or for things of value ? for thine own weal, or for other's good ? for time or eternity? for earth or for heaven? Is thy zeal foolish, or according to knowledge ? Does it bind thee to the world, or wean thee from it? Is it hot, hasty, and fitful; or calm, enduring, and persevering ? Saul had a zeal, but he was a persecutor. Peter had a zeal, but for all that he denied his Master. Be zealous in love; be zealous in faith ; be zealous in good works, and be zealous in promoting the kingdom of the Redeemer.
Who are thy friends ? Are they rich, powerful, and devoted to thee? Have they indulged in large professions, and made large promises ? Still have a care! Hast thou tried them in trouble ? Hast thou sought favour of them in the day of calamity ? 66 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint,” Prov, xxv. 19. Choose for thine earthly friends lovers of peace, and remember there is a heavenly Friend “ that sticketh closer than a brother."
What is thy heritage? Is it an estate? The cast-off property of those who have gone before thee? A mere lifeinterest, that may be but for an hour? Oh! there are better things than these! Give up thy chaff for good grain ; thy husks for the fatted calf; thy passing shadow for a permanent reality. Look higher than earth, and trust in thy Redeemer, so shalt thou have a heritage of peace and joy, and be an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.
“Oh! seek from God with all thine heart,
Riches which ne'er decay;
Which none can take away;
Thy friends the men of peace,
When earthly changes cease.”
OH! IF I WERE RICH. “Oh! if I were rich, how freely would I.scatter my money in doing good,” said a young lady, as she finished reading an appeal in behalf of a benevolent object. But she was not rich, and so laid the paper aside with a sigh. On that very day she had spent twenty shillings for a useless ornament.
“ If I were rich !” How many regrets and lamentations has that phrase given birth to ! What a power does it possess to blind the eyes of thousands to their real ability to do good. I sometimes think that many use it simply because they would feign an excuse for doing nothing. It is a miserable, puny plea. Did not God see fit to employ and bless the humblest instrumentalities, to extend his cause and promote his glory, then might those who have but little of this world's goods be despondent and indolent. But so long as revelation, reason, and experience prove that he does, even the poorest can have no excuse, for even the poorest can do much.
It is not the rich only who are selfish. I have heard a wealthy man charged with being mean, by one in comparatively humble circumstances, whose daily life proved him to be the meaner of the two. The rich, it is urged, deny themselves nothing; but is there self-denial on the part of large numbers in what may be called the middle class of society? The money to be devoted to the cause of charity lies at the very bottom of many a purse, where it cannot be reached until all the wants of the body, both real and imaginary, are supplied.
“Oh! if I were rich !” Say not so again, friend, but rather ask for a self-denying spirit, for in this you will have Wealth. Then will you find yourself able to give much to every good object. I say much, but I mean not that you will have hundreds of pounds, but the little you have to give will tell, for it will be the offering of a cheerful giver, whom the Lord loveth. Husband the trifles of money now expended on unnecessary wants.
Remember the fact, that five shillings will place five copies of the word of God in the hands of as many destitute parents, or half a score of religious books in the library of a Sunday school. Remember, too, that when giving in such a spirit you will be far more likely to supplicate the blessing of God to follow your offering. Think on these things. It is a pleasant thought, is it not, that even the humblest can do much good ?
CHRISTIAN SCRIVER'S THOUGHTS.
From the German.
THE MILKY WAY.
ONE starlight night, as Gotthold gazed on that appearance in the sky which is called the Milky Way, he said to himself, This light-streak, which has been supposed, and proved to consist of clusters of countless stars, so far distant from us, as to be only seen by means of a telescope, is to me an emblem of the Holy Scriptures, which to those who only look at them with their bodily eyes, appear dark, while to such as examine them spiritually, and with the aid of the glass of faith, find in them the day-star of comfort and instruction. This shining streak also reminds me of the glorious assembly of saints in the eternal world. In our earthly life we know little or nothing of their state, but when we take in our hand the glass of faith and holy meditation, then it is seen that these happy spirits shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever, Dan. xii. 3. They seem, indeed, small and invisible to us, because we are now far off from heaven, but if it be the will of God that we ourselves come thither, then we shall fully understand their perfect blessed
FOUR WORDS REMEMBERED FOR EVER. What a wonderful book is the Bible! how unlike the compositions of men ! If one finds a passage from this marvellous book mixed up with man's best and brightest thoughts, it seems to stand out from them like a gem in a sandy desert, shining with its own lustre, and compelling you to stop and gaze upon it. Only think, one sentence may be the means of saving a soul from everlasting death; how strange!
The Bible came down from heaven, it leads to heaven. Who does not read and admire this book of books ? One cannot tear up a ragged leaf of this book without a feeling that it is too sacred for common purposes.
There are many
instances known where a few sentences from this book have proved more useful than all the sentences or books ever written by men or nations. Here is one of them.
A minister was preaching in one of our large cities, and after retiring into the vestry a respectable woman came in, and offering her hand to the man of God, said, “ Sir, I am thankful to see your face once more; this is indeed a joyful day to me.
* I have not the pleasure of knowing you, ma'am,” answered the minister, shaking hands with the stranger.
“ Oh no, sir, you do not know me, but I have reason to remember you; and four words I once heard you read, I shall remember for ever.”
Indeed, what were they?”. “ Fifteen years ago, sir, you were preaching in this city, and I was then in a dreadful state of mind, living far from God and happiness, and at length I became so miserable, I resolved to jump into the river just below, and there end, as I foolishly imagined, my life and my sorrow together. I passed this place of worship in my way, just as you, sir, gave out your text, which was in the sixteenth chapter of the Acts, and a part of the twenty-eighth verse, “ Do thyself no harm.” My attention was arrested, and I hope my heart changed by the Spirit of God that evening ; and I have now for many years been happy, sitting at the feet of Jesus, and I hope trying to learn of him. He is to me all and in all.”
The minister was deeply affected, and kneeling down, gave thanks to God for restoring this wandering sheep to the fold