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Soon after this, a little girl, who was in the room, took up the reading-glass, out of curiosity, unseen by the old gentleman, and smeared it all over with her greasy fingers, having been eating bread and butter; the glass was then put again on the table. It was not long before some drawings were produced, when my friend, having a taste for such things, took up his glass to examine them. What the company called a beautiful flower-piece seemed to him to be mere blotches of red, blue, yellow, and green. What they considered to be a fine head, he could make neither head nor tail of; and what all pronounced to be one of the finest landscapes they had ever seen, appeared in his eyes a jumbling together of odds and ends, somewhat resembling the map of the world. Being a free-spoken man, he expressed his unfavourable opinion of the drawings, to the no small surprise and disappointment of the company. No one could account for his dislike of the drawings, until a friend at his right hand requested to be permitted to look through his reading-glass, when the affair was explained, to the amusement of all. “Ay, my friends," said the old gentleman, shaking his head, “no wonder that the drawings should appear to me to be defective; the mistake that I have just fallen into is too common in the world, especially with regard to the things of
Gud. We look at his creation, his word, and his dealings with us, through our own defective sight, and we blame that as confusion and deformity which is in truth all order and beauty. Our natural sight is like my besmeared readingglass, and a spiritual discernment resembles the same when cleared from its imperfections. May we all seek for grace to discern things aright, that we may no longer see through a glass, darkly, but clearly distinguish the things that belong to our peace, even the love of the Father and of his Son Jesus Christ.”
I will leave you to ponder on the observations of the old gentleman, James ; for as they have been of some use to me, they may be of some advantage to you also.
CALL ON A PASSIONATE YOUNG PERSON.
What, Robert, is that you giving way to such an ungovernable passion ? If you could only see your own face, it would be enough to frighten you. Oh, how unlovely is the human form when distorted with passion! I heard you storming at your sister when I was half a dozen doors off. The words which have been spoken, and the deeds that have been done, when under the influence of sudden passion, are truly terrible. If God were to judge you as
severely as you are disposed to judge your sister, how would you endure his punishments ? I had rather see your face rubbed over with soot, than deformed and clouded with such deadly rage.
“Fierce is the eagle in his pride,
The vulture in the air,
The lion in his lair;
But birds of prey and savage beasts
Are not so fierce and fell,
Where evil passions dwell.”
He who rides an unbroken or a vicious horse had need hold him in with a strong hand and a tight rein, to prevent his own neck from being broken; but he who is carried away by strong and unbridled passions, will most likely, one day or other, be thrown over a precipice. « When a Christian gives way to sinful passions, he dishonours his profession, grieves the Spirit of God, and makes sport for infernal spirits. Be not overcome of evil.” You are old enough to know the consequences of this terrible sin. Every year it will get stronger hold upon you, and within you, if not repressed. No one will depend upon you, and you can have no dependence on yourself; for passion comes like a flood, and sweeps away affection as with a torrent. Remember, Robert, that “ a soft answer
turneth away wrath : but grievous words stir up anger,” Prov. xv. l; and that “he that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city," Prov. xvi. 32. I shall call again, one of these days, Robert, not in a churlish spirit, but with kindness and affection, to say a little more on the subject of anger. May God, in his mercy, take passion away from your heart, and put love
in its place, that you may live in peace with · God, and charity with all mankind.
CALL ON A DRUNKARD. I will not ask you how you do, Richard, for you look bad enough, and bad enough you are likely to be. Oh that I had words shrill enough to make your ears tingle, and sharp enough to pierce to your very heart. It is of no use to speak softly and soothingly to you, for comfort I have none to offer. To what a situation have you reduced yourself! Your wife is wretched, and your children in rags; your body afflicted with disease, and your soul setting at defiance the threatenings of God. You are madly running to ruin, plunging headlong into perdition.
« The drunkard has to tread a briery way,
A path of sorrow in his latter day;
When, stung with pain and tortured by despair
Richard, you are now sober, and well may you hang your head with shame, to think what you once were, and what you now are. If you · look back, it must be with remorse; if forward, with despair. Which of all the curses that sin has brought upon mankind can the drunkard hope to escape ? You are wretched enough now, but what are temporal pains compared with eternal torment? Drunkenness has robbed you of comfort, joy, peace, and hope, and brought upon you distress, sorrow, distraction, and despair: that soul-destroying gin has been your ruin.
“ Accursed gin! what ruin hast thou wrought,
What good prevented, and what evil brought !
Can a drunkard read his Bible? Every chapter must harrow up his soul, Can he attend Divine worship? The faithful minister of Jesus Christ must be a terror to him. Can he pray ? He regards God as his bitterest enemy. De