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One day, however, as he was listening to a sermon from a priest of his own church, two passages were brought back with power to his mind; one of them was from Matthew vii. 13, beginning "Enter ye in at the strait gate," and from that time he became very anxious to find the narrow way that leadeth to life: but, for years, he suffered himself to be misled in his search after it.
Years passed by, and Julian Sauve became a husband. Little is known of his married life except that it was an unhappy one; rendered so by the misconduct of his wife, from whom he was at length compelled finally to separate. After that event he removed to Bennes, where he took up his abode first in one part of the town then in another, until at last he settled himself in a small mean cabin consisting of the basement story of one of the buttress towers belonging to the old fortifications. Here he followed his humbLe trade; lived a respectable and strictly moral life; and by attending regularly at all the ceremonies of the church, and paying great regard to the outward forms of his religion, earned for himself the character of a very devout Catholic. But was Julian happy in his religion? Far from it, if we may believe bis own confession in after years; for his conscience told him that he was a sinner, and kept him in constant fear of God's judgment. Yet he earnestly longed for pardon and peace; and in his ignorance of the only way by which they might be obtained he gave himself up with unquestioning devotion to the guidance of the priest, who prescribed for him the rigid discipline enjoined, in such cases, by the Eomish church.
This discipline consists in fasts and penances, scourgings of the body, and similar mortifications, by which its deluded followers suppose that they may atone for their sins and obtain forgiveness. Sums of money, which to one so poor as Julian seemed immense, he paid to the priests to say masses for him; he underwent the severest penances, and, like the Pharisee of old, he fasted twice in the week, and gave his hard-earned money to feed the poor, hoping by such means to purchase for himself the pardon and peace for which he so ardently longed. But all was in vain. "Oh that I could but find again the book which tells of the narrow way!" was now his secret, but ofVrepeated cry. "It is still a hidden way to me. I see every one crowding along in the same direction, but that cannot be the right one, for the Book says 'few there be that find it:' might I but belong to that happy number!" The priests meanwhile, wearied with his importunities and well acquainted besides "with the simplicity of his character, played upon his credulity, and at last even went so far as to introduce a white pigeon into his room, a$ d then persuaded him that the Holy Ghost had appeared to him in a visible form.*
The church of Eome—setting aside the express declaration of Scripture, that there is "one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"—teaches that saints who have already passed to heaven have also the power to hear prayer, and to intercede with God in behalf of those who call upon them. Nor does it confine this power to the apostles or other holy men of the Bible, but extends it to persons of every age and condition who have, for some real or supposed merit, been canonized (that is, declared to be saints) by their church. Thus, every town and every individual in it have their patron saints, to whom they look for a supply both of temporal and spiritual benefits.
But while every sincere Catholic addresses himself more especially to one or other of these supposed advocates, all unite in worshipping the Virgin Mary, regarding her as one to whose wishes and requests the blessed Son will, in his filial love and obedience, most readily listen. Extraordinary honours are paid her in every country where the Bomish faith prevails. A chapel dedicated to the Holy Virgin is to be found in every church, where she is generally represented holding the infant Jesus in her arms and looking down upon her worshippers with an expression of love and sympathy. The month of May is set apart for her especial worship, when in all the churches and in very many private houses altars are erected in her honour, upon which a waxen figure, attired often in lace and jewels, is made to represent the meek and lowly woman whom the Bible presents to us. as following her blessed Son, in poverty, through the towns and villages of Galilee. These altars are sometimes decorated with the choicest flowers and the richest hangings, white lights are kept constantly burning upon them; and the devout, though misguided worshippers sometimes spend hours on their knees praying to one who has no power to hear, and who, if she had, would be the first to refuse to sfccept honours that belong to God alone.
* Were not this a well-authenticated fact, it would almost have surpassed belief.
This doctrine of the intercession of the Virgin was peculiarly acceptable to Julian; he believed that he found, in the highly favoured, mother of the Lord, a mediator exactly suited to his wants; though had he, while he possessed his Testament, studied it a little more closely, he would have learned that Mary had herself needed and rejoiced in having found a Saviour when she poured out her heart in that glorious hymn of praise, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."
But Julian was under other teaching than that of God's most holy word, and his mind found in this worship of the Virgin an object of absorbing interest: so great was his devotion to her that the walls of his room were thickly hung with pictures representing her in all the various characters attributed to her by bis idolatrous church; but whether he invoked her as "Queen of Heaven," "Star of the Morning," "Eefuge of Sinners," or any other equally blasphemous title, she was still deaf to his prayers, and the earnest but mistaken worshipper went on until he was nearly sixty years of age, seeking peace and finding none, yet all unconscious that he was trusting in "a refuge of lies," which sooner or later the wrath of God will sweep away, that he may be glorified in all things by Jesus Christ his Son.
But the time, yea, the set time, was drawing near when the Spirit of Truth was to take possession of Julian's heart and lead him gently into that narrow and peaceful path for which he had so long been seeking. About three years before the period at which we have now arrived, a small evangelical church had been formed at Kennes, where, under the direction of an excellent and truly pious minister, the few Protestants of the district assembled for public worship. One of these, named Launay, who gained his living by going about from town to town as a pedler, was an acquaintance of Julian's, and having one day paid him a visit, he happened, in the course of conversation, to introduce the subject of preaching, alluding at the same time to the excellent sermons which he was in the habit of hearing from his own pastor, "Just such as you, friend Julian, would like to hear," he added. The old man's attention was roused, and he listened with interest while Launay continued to speak on the subject of gospel truth. "It is strange," said Julian: "here have I
been for years vainly trying to get some one to talk with me about the things of God, and you, a Protestant, come and introduce them unasked: how is it?'
Launay, in reply, urged him to go on the following Sunday and hear and judge for himself whether their preaching was not what he needed for his peace.
"That I cannot do," returned Julian, "for our priests tell us that you Protestants trample and spit upon the cross, revile the name of Christ, and do not believe in God!"
"That must be a mistake, as far as our minister is concerned at any rate," said Launay, "for he preaches about no one but Jesus; so give me your promise for next Sunday, and I will come myself and fetch you."
Still the old man hesitated; but after much persuasion the promise was given.
The following Saturday was the Feast of the Assumption, the greatest annual festival held in honour of the Virgin. In preparation for it Julian went the evening before to confession, and when the day arrived he spent nearly the whole of it in the church, where the gorgeous dresses of the priests, the costly decorations, the beauty and fragrance of the flowers, and the fine music, consisting of hymns in honour of Mary, were all calculated to allure the senses rather than to touch the heart. Yet Julian returned to his home full of increased devotion to the Holy Virgin. But when he lay down to rest he had not found peace of conscience. His confessor had often told him that his conscience was too tender. In one sense he was doubtless right—it was far too tender to be satisfied with anything short of a sense of sin pardoned for the sake of merits greater than his own, and he had not yet realized the truth that " the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." (To be concluded in our next.)
Death The Path To Glory.—Death to a good man is but passing through a dark entry, out of one little dusky room of his father's house, into another that is fair and large, lightsome and glorious, and divinely entertaining. Oh, may the rays and splendours of my heavenly apartment shoot far downward, and gild the dark entry with such a cheerful gleam, as to banish every fear when I shall be called to pass through.— Waits.
THE DIAMOND KING.
When George Whitefield was at Providence, in lihode Island, he stayed, for a day or two, with a family who, though courteous and honourable, were not religious. Up to the night of his going away, he had said nothing directly urging them to seek salvation. The thought made him uneasy, and kept him awake when he retired to rest. He finally resolved that he would not depart without making at least one earnest effort for their good. This was difficult, as he would not see his kind hosts again. But early in the morning, he took a diamond ring off his finger and wrote on a pane in the window, these words, " One thing thou lackest." The people of the house had an intense reverence for Whitefield, and when he was gone his late host went into the chamber and saw the writing. A tear was in his eye when its meaning flashed upon his mind. He exclaimed, " He never said a word about it, but this man loves me. Wife, come up here?" She came, and the family with her. She joined in the strain. "We did all we could to make him happy, but we could not; he was thinking about us." The girls and young men began weeping together. They knelt down, the whole six of them, and confessed their sins, there and then. They became and remained consistent members of a Christian church. A New York clergyman has one of the daughters in his congregation, and she has the pane of glass in her possession, a sacred memento of the eloquent and fervent preacher.
In looking at this incident many thoughts strike us. Amongst others the following :—
A good man is anxious to do good.—He is unhappy if he is not useful. His peace of mind is dependent, to no small extent, on his labours for his Master. Whitefield was so full of zeal for God's glory and man's well-being that he could not, contradictory as it may sound, be at rest unless he was at work. It was a necessity of his spiritual nature. Residing under the hospitable roof of friends, he cannot feel peace until he has done something for their conversion. If he does not speak he writes. During his visit his tongue has been silent, therefore his ring must tell of religion and its importance. By one means or another, he must try to do good. A holy importunity filled his soul, and we know the happy result.
The philosophy of this, if we may so phrase it, is well