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6. These not having a law, were a law unto themselves." We go upon surer ground. The faint glimmering of human reason has given place to the day-light of divine revelation ; the darkness of pagan philosophy, to the effulgence of heavenly wisdom ; and bright and beautiful are those precepts, respecting which it is said to us, as to the Jews of old, “ These words which I command thee shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
To every Christian parent his heavenly Father virtually says, " Take this child, and nurse it for me." But the beneficent and generalizing spirit of the gospel does not suffer him to rest here. He is to extend his care to the children of his neighbours, to all within his reach. “ Feed my lambs," was one of the last charges of the great and good Shepherd, of Him whom we call Master and Lord. Are there any who think children beneath their notice ? let them listen to his warning voice: “ Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones.” They who do, can have but a slight degree of attachment to Him, who “ took little children in his arms, and blessed them." They are precious in his sight, and for them he died.
The fulfilment of this commission is a test of love to him. Surely there can be no stronger inducement offered to those whom he has purchased with his blood. But though this may well be their highest motive, there are many subordinate ones. He never gave a useless injunction. The wisdom of Him who spake as never man spake, shines forth in his simplest precepts; and while in the confiding spirit of little children, we may safely do his bidding without asking a reason why, we are sure as we grow in knowledge and experience to see abundant reasons for all his commands, and to acknowledge that no rules of conduct, which we could have marked out for ourselves, could have been so unerringly wise, and just, and good.
Let us glance at some of the inducements which we have to obey this command of our gracious Redeemer. The first which presents itself to our recollection is Christian patriotism. We wish Britain to become the glory of all lands, a praise in the whole earth. Many sensible and pious persons have had their fears, lest the advance of general education of late years in our native land, by encouraging the pride of intellect, should generate infidelity. How shall we guard against this, but by instilling Christian principles into the minds of our youth, as the groundwork of science, by teaching them to fear God, and honour the king ? and when piety and intelligence shall go hand in hand throughout our country, then may it indeed be said, “Who is like unto thee, O people, favoured of the Lord!"
Our anxiety for the coming of Christ's universal kingdom is another motive: the insufficiency of our resources for the world in money and missionaries. How can we more adequately obtain these, than by enlisting the young of our respective neighbourhoods in this service ; by going out one and all on the search for recruits, and marshalling them under the Captain of our salvation, the Prince of Peace? Much has been done by the small number of true and zealous Christians in Britain alone. What might not then be done if the whole of Great Britain in another generation were to be thus engaged? Would it not, humanly speaking, be invincible ?
Another argument for extending religious education among the young, is the greater efficiency of this means of doing good than of any other. The susceptibility of youth is in its favour. The sapling oak may be easily bent, and the young tree grafted. When we go among the poor, especially in our crowded cities, we ask almost despairingly, What can'our utmost efforts effect amidst such a mass of vice and wretchedness? Their hearts are so hardened, their evil habits so confirmed, their prejudices so deeply rooted, and the society in which they move so degraded, that we seem as little to hope for any considerable alteration among them, as we should expect to stay the mountain torrent. It is with their children that we have to do; in them our hopes centre; the scheme of bringing them all under religious instruction is vast, indeed, but not inconceivable.
Many are anxious to do good, but are at a loss how to set about it, and on what precise object to employ their energies. Let them be told that here they can do it on the largest scale, and that here their labours are not to be considered as affecting individuals only, but the immediate interests of three generations, viz., the fathers and mothers who are retiring from the stage, the children themselves, and their children, when they, in their turn, become parents also. It is a work in which all may engage ; all cannot be pastors of Christ's flock in general, but all may tend the lambs, and guide them to his fold. All cannot be ministers and missionaries themselves, but all may assist in training up ministers and missionaries for succeeding generations. There are other modes of usefulness, for which qualifications may be wanting. How many talents are required in a Christian pastor which may be dispensed with in a Sunday-school teacher! There are some which are necessary for conversation with the irreligious, correspondence, and even visiting the sick, which may not be needed here.
And, finally, there is what we should rather denominate a consequence than a motive, since “ charity seeketh not her own," there is the reward which this labour of love brings back into the labourer's own bosom. “He that watereth others shall be watered also himself." Ask Sunday-school teachers whether this is not the case : whether, as they make intercession for their youthful charge, the Spirit is not poured upon them from on high ; whether, as they entreat them by a Saviour's dying love, their own hearts do not burn within them; whether, as they mark the first impulse of holy and contrite feeling, they do not taste the joy of angels ; and whether, as they lie down to rest at the close of the Sabbath, they do not feel a peace which the world cannot give, in the consciousness that they have been doing the will of their heavenly Father, and preparing for the active and untiring service which employs the saints in light.
(To be continued in our next.)
AN ALLEGORY. As a chemist was engaged in analyzing a portion of the atmosphere, in time of pestilence, an aerial substance before unknown to science presented itself. It was the gas which produces the CHOLERA. A few repetitions of the process enabled him to produce it with ease. Under numerous experiments, it was found that living beings might inhale small portions of it, prepared in a certain way, without immediately bringing on the disease, and that pleasurable sensations were produced by it. Now was the time for the father of evil to finish his work of malice. He infused into the chemist's mind the thought, that men might be persuaded to buy the cholera for the pleasure of breathing it. His heart yielded. The love of scientific fame, for which he had hitherto laboured, became dormant, and all the energies of his soul were bent on wealth. He concealed the nature of his discovery, and offered the cholera for sale, under another name, as a means of enjoyment. Multitudes flocked to his shop. He enlarged his works, and increased his assistants ; but even so customers could not be satisfied. Agents, sharing in the profits, were appointed in various places, and manufactories were established to supply them; and, at length, scarcely a hamlet could be found on earth where the cholera was not for sale.
. Its effect on those who breathed it was wonderful. On opening a vessel which contained it, and suffering it to diffuse itself through the room, they felt a surprising change, but knew not that the change was in themselves. Wherever and however the victim might lie, he seemed to recline on beds of roses, while fairy forms hovered around, and fanned him with their wings. He had but to think of a pleasure, and it was his ; and he was able to think of pleasures more exquisite than others could imagine. He was great in his own esteem. If he frightened a fly, he thought he had routed an army, and raised the shout of victory, and parcelled out kingdoms at his will. All that he saw appeared to be at his disposal. His will seemed to be the law of the universe.
Those who had once tasted these exquisite pleasures, could not forego them. When the excitement was over, the world appeared insupportably insipid. This, with the languor at some times, and violent pains at others, irresistibly led them to “ seek it yet again.” No expense was spared. No care for the future restrained them. Every thing appeared worthless, when compared with these visions of beauty and of glory. The claims of friends and kindred were disregarded. “No love was left;" for this master-appetite had swallowed up all other desires, and all other thoughts. Existence itself ceased to be valued, except as a prolonged opportunity for exhilaration. Whatever person or thing stood in the way of indulgence, was an object of remorseless wrath, which fell, not seldom, in death strokes, on objects lately the most beloved. And now and then, in the height of his enjoyment, the fancied giant would imagine his child to be a lion or a tiger, and wring its neck; and then he would mistake the sobs and groans of the child's mother, the wife of his bosom, for the triumphant shouts of applauding thousands.
Some, when strong in health, might take measured portions a long time without producing the disease; but one indulgence irresistibly led to another, and repeated instances never failed to bring it on. The quantity which men might take, and still live, could be determined only by an experiment on each ; so that no one could know whether the next indulgence would kill him or not. Universally the desire overcame the fear, the danger was disregarded, and one more exhilaration was risked, till a ghastly, livid hue, spasms, and all the symptoms of cholera, proclaimed that the limit had been passed.
The venders were resolved that they would not be injured, nor suffer their families to be injured by it. But in dealing out the gas, a little would sometimes escape, the seducing effect of which made them less unwilling that the little should escape; and this increased till their ruin was sealed. Or, if any were more guarded themselves, their children naturally thought well of what their fathers recommended and sold as a means of enjoyment, and, in every instance, more or less of them were victims. No class of men was safe. Avarice and sensuality were working out their own punishment; and, under their united sway, the human race was fast verging towards extinction.'
A decree was issued in heaven. Show man how he brings evil upon himself, that he may refrain and live !
The truth was proclaimed through the earth. Multitudes heard and were saved. Many, who had begun to seek happiness in the use of the cholera, in a lucid moment, heard, and understood, and stopped short in their career. Numbers who had made or sold it, now questioned conscience, and obeyed her voice. They would no longer manufacture pestilence, nor traffic in death. Parental love, and conjugal affection, and filial regard, and brotherly kindness, and charity, and truth, and industry, and honour, and health, and plenty, and peace, sprang up in the habitations of the rescued. And the tide of blessings was rolled onward by the breath of many voices, and the angels began to tune their harps to sing the salvation of the world.
Reader, are you helping, or hindering, this glorious reformation ?
FRIENDSHIP. What a blessing is friendship! It is admirably styled the medicine of life; but let us recollect, it is religion that gives it its most exhilarating powers. It is this that effectually links heart to heart, and holds our spirits in free communion while we are enduring separation. And how does the sense of distance die away, when we meet at the feet of our heavenly Father, pour out our sorrows and complaints in the same ear, and seek comfort from the smile of the same Divine countenance ! What can be compared to that sublime friendship which is cherished and strengthened by the remembrance that we can hold fellowship at the throne of mercy, and commit each other to the protection of the same eternal power and goodness? But the highest comfort religion gives is derived from immortality ; the union she forms lasts for ever; and it is a consolation that will brighten even the parting hour of those we love, when we see them leave this world, their hopes fixed on a firm foundation, and recollect that their lives have been an evidence of these hopes, that though possessed of many frailties, there is no unrepented sin to darken that horizon which will soon open upon their view, never, never more to know a cloud !
THE THREE CHARACTERS:
OR LOUISA, HER SISTER, AND HER COUSIN. I THINK there is a great mistake from its expression how she was affected among young people, in the idea they by it. And it seemed to me I could very have of the world, or of worldly things, easily perceive that something like the in distinction from spiritual things. following train of thought was passing They hear ministers say, “ You must through her mind. “Well, I don't see give up the world and the things of the but that I am as good as I ought to be. world; you must not indulge in vain I certainly am not devoted to the world. amusements, and you must abstain from I never go to parties, I am very regular sin, from lying, stealing, Sabbath-break- in my attendance at church on the Sabing," &c. And many, though they have bath, and on one evening in the week. not piety at all, when they hear any I never stole any thing in my life, or thing of this kind, think, “Well, I do told but one lie that I remember, and not see but that I have given up the that was when I was a very little girl.” world. I do not go to balls and dancing I saw her glance her eye at her cousin, parties, I always attend worship on the who happened to be at church with her Sabbath, and certainly, I never steal, or on that day, and whose parents were in lie, or break the third commandment." much more fashionable life than hers.
Louisa Morton was one of these cha. She seemed to say, “I am very different racters. She was a very amiable, plea from you; you go out into company sant girl, and had not an enemy in the four evenings in seven,-to the theatre world. Her parents loved her because regularly once a week, and seldom to she was so obedient and attentive to worship unless it is a particularly fine day. their wishes, as well as because she was You never rise till nine or ten o'clock their daughter. Her brothers and sis in the morning, and spend the time durters loved her because she was seldom if ing the day in preparing for evening viever cross to them, and always tried to sits, or have some other frivolous emdo as they wished her to do. Her com ployment. panions and teachers never had any Now I suppose that in the common reason to complain of her, but she was use of the expression, her cousin was a favourite with them all. Louisa saw more devoted to the world than she was; this; and it only made her the more de butlet us compare her with her sister, who sirous to retain and increase this feeling, was two years older than herself, and see and she tried every day to see if she if Louisa's heart was not in reality wholly could not think of some new way of gra. taken up in the world, that is, in things tifying her parents, of pleasing her bro which had no reference whatever to her thers and sisters, or companions, and to duty to her heavenly Father. Her sister be more and more attentive at school. Laura resembled Louisa very much in She was very fond of study indeed, and natural disposition. She had the same she generally stood at the head of all her kind heart and amiable feelings, and was classes.
quite as much beloved by those who I knew her character; and one day as knew her. But she had been brought a sermon something like which I have to see the need of an entire change of mentioned was preached, I watched her heart before she could, in any of her countenance, to see if I could discover duties, please her heavenly Parent.