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FREEDOM AND STRICTNESS. It appears to me necessary that you should unite great strictness with great freedom. Strictness will make you faithful, and freedom will inspire you with courage. If you endeavour to be strict without being free, you will fall into scrupulousness; and if you are free without being strict, you will become relaxed and negligent. Strictness, alone, contracts the mind and heart; freedom, alone, unbends them too far. Those who have no experience in the ways of God, suppose that these qualities cannot be made to harmonize. They understand strietness to mean a life of anxiety and bondage; a restless and scrupulous timidity, which destroys our repose, which finds sin in every action, and lays us under such restrictions, that we scarcely feel at liberty to breathe. Freedom is, with them, pliability of conscience, which contents itself with avoiding great errors, and counts nothing as such but gross crimes; which indulges in everything that is grateful to our self-love; which gives unbridled license to the passions, and satisfies the mind with the reflection that these are venial offences.

These were not the views of Paul, when he said to those who had through him received the Divine life, and whom he sought to lead to perfection : “ Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.” Be free, because Christ has called you to liberty ; but let not this liberty give you either occasion or pretext for committing sin.

It seems to me that true strictness consists in obeying God in everything; in following the light which points out our duty, and the grace which constrains us to its performance; making the will of God the rule of our conduct, and doing always, not only that which pleases him, but that which pleases him best ; without quibbling between great and little sins, or between infirmities and infidelities. It is true that there are such distinctions, but they are of no consequence to a soul which is determined to yield all to God. It is in this sense that Paul said that the law was not made for a righteous

The law is severe and full of menaces; we find it, if we dared say so, oppressive and enslaving ; but the gospel elevates us above it, introduces us into the true liberty of children, and teaches us to desire always to do the will of our heavenly Father. “ Love him," says Augustine, " and then you may do as you will.”

We must add to this sincere desire to do the will of God,


the cheerful performance of his requirements ; never wearying in our failures, and with persevering endeavours hoping for success in the end; bearing our infirmities as God bears them, and waiting humbly till he shall remove them. We must with singleness of purpose walk in the way which he has opened before us; and, in the words of the apostle, forget those things which are behind, and press forward to those which are before. We need not, when we fall, waste our time in useless regrets, which only impede our progress, confuse our minds, and burden our hearts. We must indeed humble ourselves, and mourn in the view of our faults, but let us leave them behind, and go on our way. Let us not indulge a legal and Judaic spirit; let us not look upon God as a spy watching our movements, or an enemy laying snares for our feet, but as a Father who loves us and desires our happiness. Let us confide in his goodness; let us never cease to invoke his mercy; let us lay aside all vain dependence on his creatures or ourselves. Here is the path to true freedom, or rather, I should say, it is freedom itself.

I earnestly entreat you to aspire to such liberty. Strictness and freedom should go hand in hand. You are most deficient in the latter respect; although I acknowledge that you may find great room for improvement in externals. I think, however, that you are very much in need of greater confidence in God, and greater enlargement of heart. Yield yourself to those gracious influences which sometimes lead you to intimate communion with him. Do not fear to forget yourself, and to contemplate him alone. Draw as near to him as you may be permitted, and plunge into the ocean of his love; too happy if you can do it so entirely as to lose yourself in him. But be careful to add to the recollection of such feelings, the exercise of humility, and filial fear and respect.



[From the American Messenger.] I RECEIVED. the following recital from a colporteur of the Tract Society labouring in a western state. It illustrates the possibility of reaching even the Roman Catholic priesthood by this agency, and leads us to hope that persevering and kind personal effort may be instrumental in bringing even some of them to Christ. The colporteur, a converted Romanist of great zeal and success, having called upon a priest, and ex. pressed a desire to talk on the subject of religion, was kindly received, and an animated conference of three hours followed, of which this is a specimen.

Colp. I hope, my friend, I have received the Spirit of Christ.

Priest. How did you receive that Spirit ?

C. The Lord afflicted me long and severely, and led me to think and pray. I went to the priest to have my sins forgiven, but he could not forgive me. My heart was heavy after he said I was forgiven ; and all he told me to do gave me no peace till I went to Christ.

P. Are you perfectly satisfied now?
C. Yes, perfectly.

P. Do you belong to the Catholic church, and keep her commandments ?

C. I try to keep all the commandments of Christ and his apostles contained in the Bible, but no others.

P. So far, good; but the holy fathers say many things not in the Bible. [Here the priest sprang to his library, and commenced reading from a Latin volume.]

C. Stop, stop, I do not understand Latin. I stand by the Bible, and nothing else.

P. Well, let us take the Bible. It is good. But why did you leave the Catholic church after you received the Spirit ? Why not remain in her ?

Č. How could I? The priests command one thing, the Bible another. I must obey the Bible.

P. You should not leave. You do a great sin. You take hundreds with you, and give the true church a bad name. You fall from the true church.

C. But I stand by the Bible. I tell you of Christ, who died to make an atonement for our sins. I do not fall from the true church. Oh, my brother, the old catholic church loved Christ, and prayed to him, and he forgave their sins; and he will forgive your sins, if you ask him sincerely and in faith.

Here the priest ceased the argument and mused sadly awhile, moved to tears by his own reflections, and no doubt the Spirit of God was there to whisper to his heart the truth of the simple-hearted colporteur's statements. The colporteur continued : “ I do not come to argue

with you; I am not a learned man, like a priest ; but I come to tell

you what the Lord has done for my soul. I called to-day to bear witness for Christ, that he has brought me out of darkness."

P. Well, I do not understand it; I never experienced what you say ; I am a sinner.

C. The Lord will give you a new heart, if you want it. Oh! my brother, seek the Lord.

“ We should pray for each other," replied the priest ; " and come again, my dear brother, and let us talk more of this matter.'

So ended the first interview of the priest and colporteur.

Reader, say not that Catholic priests are inaccessible. Let the truth be spoken to them in love and faithfulness, and, by the power of the Almighty Spirit, the “ truth will make them free."



ARE YOU A DOCTOR? In going from N. to B. by coach, I procured some small tracts and hand-bills to distribute by the way. The day was fine, and the outside of the coach had its full complement of passengers. It was pleasing to see the groups of villagers standing after breakfast and dinner enjoying a little relaxation from toil, and when a few tracts and hand-bills descended from the top of the coach it was amusing to see how eagerly they were sought for.

Shortly after I had begun_my distribution in this way, a lady addressed me, saying, “ I suppose, sir, you are a doctor, and these are your bills of medicine you are distributing.”

I acknowledged that I was in some respects a doctor, for I was distributing what might, through the blessing of God, be useful to the curing of the disease of the soul; and, in saying so, presented her with the tract“ Prepare to meet thy God. She received it gratefully, and began to read it. She had not proceeded far in reading, when I was pleased to see the tears stealing silently over her cheeks, and having read it she seemed anxious to hear of the way of salvation. A conversation followed, which, I hope, was both appropriate and profitable; and who can tell but that those on the coach were benefited ? Having distributed to each a tract, they were gratefully received.

On leaving the coach, I was glad to have had such an opportunity of doing good, and felt grateful for the useful monitors for helping me to introduce a conversation which may end in happy results.

D. P.

THE FOUNTAIN. " Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.”— 1.

Man thirsts for happiness, and vainly tries
In earthly objects his desire to gain;
The broken cisterns yield him poor supplies;

He grasps at shadows, fleeting, false, and vain;
He drinks, but vainly drinks; his thirst doth still remain.

Poor wand'rer after happiness! you tread
The paths of giddy pleasure where she's sought;
Spend time and wealth for that which is not bread,

And toil for that which satisfieth not:
You have not yet attain’d, nor are you nearer brought.

Then seek pursuits more worthy of the mind,
The intellectual regions now explore;
Fair science' flowery paths, there, there to find

The happiness you vainly sought before;
Gain learning's deepest springs--there drink, and thirst for more.

Still, still unsatisfied; oh! vainly wise,
Still would'st thou seek thy wearied spirit's rest?
Try, then, if sweet domestic charities

May fill the void that pains thine aching breast;
There seek to find the good thou hast not yet possest.

Art thou now happy? Thou art not secure;
Thy happiness depends on others now.
Will it unchang'd by the sick couch endure,

While watching life's last parting struggle, thou
Shalt wipe the damps of death from some lov'd anguish'd brow?

What are the feelings, then, which rend thy breasi ?
Oh, what a sense of emptiness is there !
Arise, depart, for this is not thy rest,

All is polluted, all is full of care;
The heav'n-born spirit pants and


Immortal spirit, clogg'd and bound to earth,
Seek'st thou thy happiness in earth alone ?
Earthly-affection'd, yet of heavenly birth,

To wander from thy source and centre prone,
Here wilt thou stay thy search, its object still unknown?

Does thy sad spirit unto dust still cleave ?
Rise, seek for happiness as yet untried ;
The troubled streams of earthly pleasure leave;

The broken cisterns are in love denied :
Drink, from the fountain drink, and there be sati ed.

See living waters thro’ the desert flow,
Streams from the rock and from its riven side;
Drink, freely drink, for all thy sin and woe

Cannot exclude thee, none will be denied;
Drink, from the fountain drink, and there be satisfied.

H. B.

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