« AnteriorContinuar »
on T was a magnificent plant, tall and stately, and
covered with a beautiful bloom; just the very thing, I thought, to put in my study window. It
would be useful as a screen, to keep the passersby from staring in; it would also give a bright and pleasing appearance to the room, and take off some of the dulness that usually pervaded it. Yes, it was exactly what I wanted; having decided this, I bought it, and placed it on a table in front of the window, where it was greatly admired by all who saw it. “What a beautiful plant !” said one of my acquaintances. “How I should like to have one like it !” remarked another; and every one decided that I had made a good purchase. But how did it prove? I will tell you.
Before it had been in the room a day I had a bad headache, and ere it had graced the window a week, not myself only, but all in the house were suffering from the same complaint. At first we did not lay the blame to the plant, but imagined the sickness came from some other cause; but at length we decided that the flower must have something to do with it, and it was accordingly removed. Never shall I forget the relief we felt almost immediately. The headaches soon went away, and everyone was as well again as ever. The fact was just this, the scent of the flower, however pleasant it might be, was too powerful for a small room. Nor was this all; no doubt the quality of the air was injured by the plant exhausting the oxygen and impregnating the atmosphere with other gases.
So much, then, for my beautiful flower. Now let us see if we cannot draw a moral from it.
May we not, some of us, be living in an atmosphere poisoned by sin; made unwholesome and impure by some particular vice—some vice that, perchance, may hardly seem such, but that has a lowering and depressing tendency, and checks the growth of what might be good within us. There are some sins that do not show their ugliness so distinctly as others-nay, more, that may be almost mistaken
for virtues; but if they are sins, they are injurious, and in the end will bear bitter fruit.
A sin indulged in, although it may appear a small one, will taint and poison the soul, and work incalculable mischief. The Pharisee who was praying in the Temple thanked God that he was not as other men; he thought he had no sin to confess, but the poisonous plant of pride was deeply rooted in his heart, and God could see it there.
“ The man's morals were exact. What then ?
A praying, synagogue-frequenting beau.” If we, as Christians, feel that we are making no progress in holiness, but that our virtues are stunted and perhaps dying, we may be sure that we are harbouring some poisonous plant in our bosoms which is destroying the very atmosphere upon which they ought to thrive. Till that is removed there can be no healthy growth in grace, such as ought to mark the child of God.
Would it not have been folly to keep my flower in the room where it did mischief? Most decidedly; but the folly is greater in allowing a sin to remain in the heart that it is injuring. Beautiful to the eye was the flower, and it was not without some regret that I saw it removed ; so the plucking up of some favourite indulgence may cause a pang, but it must be done, or the consequences will be ruinous.
Just one more thought suggested by the plant. The relief gained on its removal was great and immediate ; and the relief to be found by destroying or overcoming evil in our souls will be great, too. There can be no real satisfaction to a person whose heart is touched by Divine love to harbour sin ; but there will be the greatest in feeling that sin is conquered ; and what a blessed thing it is to know that we have not to depend upon our own strength in doing this, but that we have the promise that God Himself will give us aid and power to perform the work, if we only seek His help.
G. H. S.
Sins of the Tongue.
to bring so little punishment in its train, as the
of the most deadly and soul-defiling sins that men commit. So insidious is the growth of this habit that we hardly heed it. The child begins by using sharp or careless words, thoughtless words, or angry words when vexed; soon he hears some older person using coarse, strong language when out of temper. The child garners it in his memory, and he in turn gives vent to his angry feelings in wicked words. The habit grows, alas ! too quickly, and the oft-used words get almost meaningless to the speaker; he uses wicked, yes, and blasphemous, expressions freely, without thought and without fear. And, though I grieve to write it, women's lips, too, are stained with words and expressions such as no Christian should utter, far less any modest woman.
You who are reading this, do you not know it? Many of you, with nearly every breath when talking to your companions, curse and take holy names in vain, and use low, vile words, which must not only be a grievous offence to Him who hears all, but is a blot upon your souls and a stain on your Christian manhood, needing, indeed, true repentance and sincere sorrow ere it can be cleansed.
And, let me ask you, what pleasure is there in this sin ? What good can it do you now or after ? Boys too often adopt the habit because they hear their elders speaking thus; and woe to that man who wittingly lets the young and innocent hear his coarse, wicked words or jests, and defiles those precious souls for whom Christ died! The young,
then, try to be, as they think, manly by the use of these words; but of those from whom they learn them, their fathers and their mothers, what can be said ? Surely it is the very indwelling of the evil spirit that can cause satisfaction in pouring forth ill !
And those words that darken and poison the air round our workshops and in our streets, think you they are spoken and gone, as you would blow a soap-bubble into the air and see it melt away? Nay! words have a double and a fearful life. Each word is written down in the Great Book which is to be opened by the Judge at the last day. Think of that, careless speaker. Think that before angels and men, and before the pure Lord of Glory, those degrading words shall be brought up against you. Ay! then will you call on the rocks to fall on you, if so be they might cover your shame, for that you, a man with an immortal soul, with a tongue and a voice given to you for your own use, for the good of others and for the praise of God—that you should have turned that gift to the vilest uses. Then, right willingly, as you cower before your Judge, would you tear out and cast away that offending member; but then it will be too late. Awful words ! lay them to heart now, while there is time; think of what it will be to hear those words from Him you have offended, and for God's sake, for your soul's sake, resolve now, this day, that you will purge your tongue from evil words; when the quick, thoughtless, wicked word rises in your heart, cast out the enemy with a prayer, “Lord, help me!” Believe me, not many efforts will be needed ere it will be easier, and in a short time you will shudder as you think of the fearful way in which you tempted God to cast you away at once and for ever, as you spoke of heaven and hell and the awful realities of that unseen world with careless breath. Hardly can I bear to dwell on the thought that the very Name at which all knees should bow, the Name of our salvation, is thus taken in vain. How can it be, that men for whom that dear Lord died can use that precious Name in jest and anger? Ah ! Lord, “forgive