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sun shone brightly forth. The old great grandsire came forth with his young guest, and stood on the green before the door. The children were trooping out, the young men were going to their labours, the young women were preparing their winter works to take down to the plains and sell.
The old man said, “ My son, wilt thou now take an old man's blessing, and go on thy pilgrimage to the shrine of thy saint, and then return to thy cave and to thy worship of the image of the Virgin? As for us, we go on again through the active duties of our course, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
“My father,” cried Giacomo, “I shall henceforth have no other God but one, the God of the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is one with the Father and the blessed Spirit. I will return to the duties of life, for I have learned that the whole Bible calls us to activity ; that the whole Bible sets before us one God, one Saviour, and one Sanctifier; that the whole Bible points to one means of free salvation through the atonement of Christ; and the whole Bible shows us that the living example of one active Christian life is of more value than a thousand reputations of sanctity, acquired by a useless and self-devoted existence.'
Giacomo returned to his father and mother. He visited his cave, his chapel, and his image no more. He fulfilled his duty as a son, and some time afterwards commenced those of a husband and a father. He bore from the châlet of the wil. derness a much-prized treasure, a copy of the blessed book, of which he had there seen a never-forgotten illustration.
THE FOG. Who is there that is insensible to the discomforts of a fog? The shivering invalid quickly discovers it by the uneasiness of her lungs before she rises from her bed in the morning. The clerk in the city, who stoops over his desk to pursue his labours by the light of a lamp at noon-day, feels it. The carriage drivers know the perils of a thick fog; accidents happen; people and things come into collision; men walk and ride in jeopardy; and injury to the health, suspension of comfort, sometimes dangerous accidents, and even death itself, are known to be the frequent effects and results of a dense fog. But what a change takes place when the sun breaks forth! the thick vapour disappears ; light returns, and with it warmth and cheerfulness.
Reader, what is this like? What may we learn from it?
Observe those men walking in the ways of the world and their own evil hearts, absorbed in worldly affairs, and “ lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God,” 2 Tim. iii. 4. They “ loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil,” John iii. 19. They are willingly ignorant of the dangers of the darkness which surrounds them; and unless the Holy Ghost reveal to them their wretched state, and lead them to Christ, they are lost for ever! Look to another class,
going about to establish their own righteousness,” Rom. x. 3; “ who trust in themselves that they are righteous, and despise others;" and who " thank God that they are not as other men,” Luke xviii. 9-11; who “ walk in the light of their own fire, and the sparks that they have kindled," Isa. 1. 11; but except a greater Light illumine their darkness, and discover to them their filthy rags,” Isa. lxiv. 6, and naked” (Rev. iii, 17) staté," they shall lie down in sorrow,” Isa. 1. 11.
Behold a third company of men, who, in times of danger and distress, are alarmed, and crying aloud for help, seem to humble themselves before God, and declare that now they will serve the Lord, and they hear the gospel gladly ; but when the sunshine of relief or prosperity appears, their goodness is like the early dew; it goeth away, Husea vi. 4.
Others again there are of whom it must be hoped that they have some light in their heads and love in their hearts; yet their views of truth are so obseure, and their conceptions of the character of God so mistaken, that they yield unequivocal signs of holding error, or being misled by “every wind of doctrine," Eph. iv. 14. They grope in the dark without light,” Job xii. 25; wandering in the mazes of man's teaching, and neglecting
way where light dwelleth,” Job xxxviii. 19, in which their doubts might be dispelled and their hearts comforted, they stumble on, their walk is unsteady or stiff, their conversation Christless and unedifying; and while they are dreary within, their outward life is such, that they do not resemble " the light of the world, a city set on an hill ;” nor do they shine so as to “ glorify their Father which is in heaven,” Matt. v. 14-16.
But there are some few in this dark world who are enlightened from above; and they are able to walk in that
way which leadeth unto life," Matt. vii. 14. They are worshippers of the true Light, for “ God is light, and in him is no darkness at all,” i John i. 5. Are they exempt
from all darkness in this world, then? Oh, no. Sometimes they feel the chilling gloom of poverty, sickness, persecution, or contempt, and, what is far worse to them, the hidings of the light of God's countenance, which a tender conscience can sometimes trace to a breach of duty as the cause, or an indulgence in envy, pride, hatred, unforgiveness, vanity, and such like, which have drawn down displeasure upon them. When such is the case, whatever be the sin which may have occasioned the temporary darkness which envelopes the soul, that sin is unreservedly confessed, forsaken, or striven against; then light returns, for God's “anger endureth but a moment : weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” Psa. xxx. 5.
If, on the contrary, the dark clouds which hover over them are attributable to the sins of others, or to the distresses attendant upon our nature and condition in this life, they ask the Lord to sustain them, and enable them cheerfully to fight the good fight of faith, and to preserve them from the wiles of the devil. Then they take the word of God “ as a lamp unto their feet, and light unto their path,” Psa. cxix. 105; knowing full well that, though the storms of trial may cast a dark shadow round them, and intercept their view of the light of his countenance, yet the “ darkness and dimness will not remain, for “the Sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in his wings," Mal. iv. 2; and they surely have a joyful experience of that blessed truth, “ Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness," Ps. cxii. 4.
BUSINESS AND PRAYER. If a professed disciple would not have his secular business become as a millstone about his neck to drown him in perdition, he must be a man of prayer ; he must daily secure spiritual communion 'with God. If he suffer his business to consume his time and spirits so as to deprive him of opportunities for prayer, reading the Bible, and real communion with God, he must decay in piety, and his service of mammon eat up his service of God. No one who believes that God answers prayer, will think of omitting either secret or family devotion for want of time, even when business is unusually urgent. Which is worth most to you or your family, an additional period of your own unblessed labour, or the blessing of God on your efforts, won by spending that time in pleading with him in prayer? The plea of want of time is essentially atheistical ; none should urge it but those who regard prayer as an empty mockery that never receives an answer from the Lord. Let the day begin with communion with God, let the disciple pass the whole day in the spirit of prayer, and all its duties will become spiritual duties, and all its scenes be inscribed with “ Holiness to the Lord.”
But this must be real communion with God, and not a mere formal prayer. Many morning prayers are a sort of paying compliments to the Most High. A Frenchman, it is said, visited his chapel in Paris to say his daily devotion, but he found no priest in attendance, and the building undergoing repairs. He walked up to the altar, laid his card on it with a low bow, and withdrew, well satisfied with the homage he had paid to the Lord. It is to be feared that too many of the morning prayers of the closet and the family are little more than laying a card upon the altar; a complimentary presentation of respects. But nothing less than such communion with God as touches the heart and draws forth its earnest desires, can be any safeguard to us in the busy scenes of the day. Hence it were well if every Christian would make and keep the resolution by which some have been profited, to have so many seasons of prayer, and continue them so long as to keep the heart in a tender and lively spiritual frame, so as never to leave the closet without some meltings of the heart, some sensible manifestations of God's love.
This point may best be enforced by the words of a devoted disciple of Christ. He said with great earnestness and simplicity, “ I have made a discovery this summer which I regard as of great value. I used to defer my morning devotions till after the first work of the morning. But this summer, immediately on rising, before doing aught else, I
pray till I feel God's presence. Then I read the Scriptures till breakfast, when I find my heart warm and ready to engage with interest in family prayer. At noon the hay wants turning; but I push off to spend a season in prayer; and the heart having become warm in the morning, it needs but little to restore its fervour, and I am soon at work again with a lively sense of God's presence. When all is done, I look back on a day spent with God, and give thanks for all his mercies, commending myself to him. And now, (he added with the greatest animation,) I can commend this plan to all Christians. It has carried me all through haying and harvesting, and in the busiest of it all I have had as much enlargement of heart and spiritual joy as ever in my life.”
pray; and I
66 Be ye
IS IT EVER RIGHT TO BE ANGRY? SABBATH evening arrived, and the young Marshalls, with their mother, had taken their places around the table. Ellen and George had previously examined the passages referred to in the discussion they had had about anger. Is it ever right to be
angry ? And what is the meaning of the text, angry, and sin not ?" were the questions.
We have both read what is said in the commentary upon the text,” said George ; but, mother, I do not see how it can always be wrong to be angry. How could anybody help it sometimes ?”
“ I suppose," said Mrs. Marshall, “ the real question is, whether it is always our duty to endeavour to refrain from anger? But now let us hear what your commentary says on this text of Scripture."
Ellen and George repeated, as well as they were able, in their own words, the views of the writer, the substance of which was, that the text means this : “ If angry, suppress your anger, so as not to'sin."
“ The commentator then thinks all anger wrong which is indulged in our hearts, and is not immediately suppressed and subdued,” said Mrs. Marshall. “ Others say that all anger
is sin. But I think all the difference is in the meaning which they attach to the word. By anger, one probably means strong displeasure, or what is sometimes called righteous indignation, against sin. Another man means that kind of feeling which seeks revenge, or which enjoys seeing the offender suffer.”
Well, mother,” said Ellen, you remember when we saw that man beating his horse so unmercifully the other day, uncle George said, nothing made him more angry than such cruelty, and he said, too, that he would like to see the man beaten in the same way.”
“ Yes,” said George, eagerly," and I almost felt as if I could help to beat him myself."
“ And what does all this prove?" asked Mrs. Marshall. “ It shows that you and your uncle George were both angry; not that it was right to be so.”
But, mother," said George, you would not stand calmly by, and see such cruelty ?"
“ No; I should wish your feelings to be strongly moved by such a spectacle ; but not the feeling which I understand by anger. A feeling of compassion for the poor beast, and of