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remarked, " in the proner meaning of the terms, religious melancholy involves a contradiction... True religion rectifies, but never disorders; enlightens, but dever darkens ; cheers, but never saddens the soul. It can no more be chargeable with melancholy, than the sun with darkness. It is to the soul what the sun is to the visible creation; the source of light, and life, and purity, and joy." Why then, believer, "are the consolations of God small with thee?”
3. The cause may sometimes be found in an individual's natural temperament. Some are constitutionally disposed to look on the sky when the sun lights it up with his glory ; others when clouds cover it as with sackcloth. Some love to view nature when dimpled with her sweetest smiles; others, when “stormy winds and tempest," play, in her countenance, awful things. Some mentally turn night into day; others as surely transmute day into night. Some are naturally cheerful ; others, naturally melancholy, whatever the sphere in which they move, whatever the subject on which they touch. Religion itself was never intended to interfere with the delicate adjustment existing between matter and mind, between soul and body. This is not its province, but neither is it its reproach. Some kinds of gloom that settle down even on the pious spirit, have their seat in the physical frame, and betoken a disarrangement that calls not so much for spiritual counsel as for the prescription of a medical adviser. Which is it, Christian, whose absence explains the reason of “the consolations of God being small with thee?”
4. The cause is occasionally found in the indulgence of " secret faults." Jehovah “is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and cannot look upon sin.” It forms a barrier between him and the man who commits it. “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God.” “If any man,” no matter how long he has professed to know me, no matter how closely. he may have walked with me, “if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Hence, says the psalmist, “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me." It is as true to-day as when first the solemn declaration was made, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways." If thou hast, dear reader, realized this plenitude of woe, oh! return to him who is willing to “healthy backslidings, to receive thee graciously, and to love thee freely.” Then shall “the consolations of God” no longer “be small with thee."
5. The cause is not unfrequently found in the weakness of the Christian's faith. Where known sin is not cherished, but even abandoned, there may be only a meagre acquaintance with the reasons why a believer should be glad; or, if acquaintance with these is ample, they may not be studied in their beautiful connexions, or if they are so studied there may be a “slowness of heart to believe all that the prophets,” all that the psalmists, all that the apostles “have spoken;" a slowness to “credit what the Almighty saith.” In such a case, lively spiritual emotions are literally impossible. The life of a Christian is the life of faith ; but just in proportion, my brother, to the vigour of thy faith will be the number, and the sweetness, and the magnitude of " God's consolations with thee."
6. Once more, the cause may be found in the Christian seeking consolation for its own sake. He sighs for comfort. He looks upon its realization as the grandest object at which he should aim. He strives to be happy, and wonders he fails. There is no cause for surprise. The marvel would be, success. Happiness flees from the man who makes it his god, while it follows and encircles the man who, far from giving way to selfish indolence, devotes himself actively to the service of his Divine Master. “To glorify God” is the way to enjoy him.” “Pure religion," and therefore pure joy, "is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.". Test the prescription, my brother, and see if " the consolations of God shall ever again be small with thee." Lirici
"A FEW WORDS WHICH HALF THE CHAPEL-GOERS IN
THE KINGDOM WOULD DO WELL TO KEAD.* John Thorogood.—Good day, neighbour | They're ashamed to come so late, so they Easy : how are you, and all at home? I don't come at all. : And some, I suspect,
Frank Easy:-Very well, thank you; prefer to have a little better dinner on the but what's the matter? You don't look Sunday, than they would otherwise bave, over-bright this morning.
to their Sunday privileges. J. T. - I was sorry to see you and your F. E. But I never keep away altogether. family late at chapel both times yesterday. J. T. No, but you're generally late.
F. E.Why, you're always harping on You won't mind my plain speaking, I'm that string. What's the use of making sure. We are old friends. such a fuss about a trifle ?
F. E.-Not a bit. I like a man to speak J. I. I don't think it is a trifle, out. Go on. neighbour. Nothing can be trifling that J. T.-As to you late comers ; how selinjures yourself and others, and, to say dom you can give a reason which God, or the least, seems disrespectful to God's your own common sense, would deem sufihouse, and to God himself. It vexes me cient. Some servants, and some who have beyond measure to see so many come in 'to wait on the sick, and some who are late...
delayed by some unforeseen or unavoidable F. E. - But some, you know, can't circumstance, may be excused; but nobody help it.
else. There are few, compared with the 5. T.-A few, I know, can't help it; but large number who can, but won't, come in these are really very few indeed when you time. Why, there were not seventy of our come to count them ; perhaps not a twen. | down-stairs congregation of two hundred tieth part of the whole congregation. I'm in their places yesterday morning when the willing to make all just allowances. Sometown-hail clock struck. But you mustn't servants can't always help it, for their time follow a multitude to do evil, even though is not their own. But even with them, in some of them are church members. nine cases out of ten, blame rests on some- F. E. Well, I do try not to be late, body's shoulders, I'm pretty sure. Every but somehow or other I must confess I mistress should make it a point of duty to I often am late. see that her servant is in time. Indeed, J. T:-That's where it is. Depend upon when I think of it, a reasonable time for 1 it, if you only try not to be late, if you only attending Divine service is no more the try to come just in time, you will generally mistress's time than her servants. The be behind time. You ought to make it a former mustn't buy it, and the latter rule to be in your place ten minutes before mustn't sell it for money. “It is God's the service begins; then you'd have a time, and no one has a right to rob him of better charice of being at least punctual. it. It's a pity that so many do; for I'm Some people are always a little late, and persuaded a little foresight and method others always very late ; and it's curious would put matters straight. '
how.exact and regular they are in their unF. E-Well, I'm thinking you're about punctuality. I always know when it's right there. ,.
ten minutes past eleven of a Sunday J. T.-Now that I'm speaking of these morning, by seeing Mrs. Disorderly pushing domestic affairs, how many neglect to come her children up the aisle ; and when I hear altogether without sufficient reason! I the creaking of Mr. Tardy's boots, I'm cer don't mean those who are wholly careless tain it's twenty after the hour. I wish and indifferent about their souls ; but they'd begin to get ready for chapel a little there are several houses I could mention earlier, They must know by this time where there are generally one or more per how much sooner they ought to begin. sons at home, when they should be at They don't allow time enough, that's plain. chapel, simply because they don't get up | I've heard of some people regularly putting early enough in the morning, or because on their clocks, when they wind them up there's no punctuality and order in the l on the Saturday night, that they might be domestic arrangements of the household. sure to be punctual on the Sunday. But
* Forty copies of the above, in the form of a tract, will be forwarded (postage paid) to any address, if applied for at once, by “X, Post Office, Coltbridge, Edinburgh," on receipt of thirty postage stamps. it's no use. The worst of it is, they don't , disrespect to the ordinances of God's house. forget that their clocks are a little fast when Don't you find it so ? Don't you find the Sunday comes; so they can't deceive them service, begun in this way, not so profitable selves into punctuality by their own artifice. as when you are in good time? They're too clever for that. And some F. E. Why, yes, I must say I do. times they hope their clocks are faster than When I'm in good time I certainly enjoy they really are, and so matters are worse the service more, and I think it does me than ever. No! there's nothing like making more good: it seems to give one a good our clocks and watches, like our tongues, start. speak the exact truth, and making a J. T.-Then we must think of our point of being in our places ten minutes neighbours as well as of ourselves. Besides before the time. That's my rule. I don't setting a bad example to your family and find our late comers are so unpunctual in to the congregation, you've no idea what an worldly matters, when their temporal in annoyance this late-coming is to some terests are concerned. This has an awkward i people. My wife, who is rather a nervous look. It looks as if their heart wasn't quite body, is sadly put out by it. She says it in the right place. But it's not for me to half spoils the service for her. She says judge them. But I do wonder our people the late-comers seem to make more noisehad the face to sing yesterday morning than anybody else when they come in ; that psalm of Dr. Watts's, beginning that it disturbs her thoughts and makes • How pleasant, how divinely fair,
her almost angry with them. There's O Lord of hosts, thy dwellings are !
hardly a Sunday but she laments it. And With long desire my spirit faints
all the best people in the church lament it To meet th' assemblies of thy saints."
too. Our good minister has often spoken But they did sing it as loud as usual, late
to me about it. He feels it more than any comers and all. They couldn't have been person in the place. He says that it's very thinking what the words mean.
discouraging to him, and that he always F. E.-Well but, neighbour, you see I've preaches better when the congregation is some way to walk to chapel, and the chil pretty punctual. dren can't get along very fast.
F. E.-I dare say he does. I expect I J. T.-Why that's another argument for
should feel the same if my place were in my rule, no excuse for breaking it. You
the pulpit instead of the pew. It can't be surely know by this time how long it takes pleasant to him to see us straggling in you to walk from your house to chapel, and late. the distance is the same whether you are J. T.-No; it distresses him very much." early or late. If your children are slower But there's a higher consideration than at some times than at others, you had this. I'm afraid this late-coming is disbetter err on the safe side, and try to be a honouring to God, and to his house. If quarter of an hour before time, instead of
you had an appointment to meet the Queen, ten minutes. After a longish walk-perhaps or some great nobleman, at a certain hour, . in the heat or in the rain-perhaps after a you'd take care to be in time, wouldn't little conversation with a neighbour or two you? But you don't mind keeping God -you need more than ever a few minutes waiting. He's never behind his time. to settle down comfortably in your place, to Don't be behind yours. Besides, it must rest your body, to collect your thoughts, to be displeasing to God to do anything which get your hearts in tune, and quietly to ask is likely to lessen the effect of the means of a blessing on the service. Depend upon it, grace upon your own soul and the souls of you'll find my rule a good one for your own others. And then it looks so bad to miss comfort and profit. I should think it must half of the devotional part of the servicebe very uncomfortable to miss the opening the public prayer, the hymn of thanks : prayer, and to have to stand with your giving and praise, the reading of the Scrip children waiting in the lobby till it is tures -and to be content with coming in, finished ; or to come in in the middle of time for the sermon. Do try and come, the singing or reading, and not know what before the service begins-ten good minutes hymn or chapter to turn to ; and then to before; that's the plan. Don't let this sin feel that you are interrupting the worship of coming late to chapel lie any longer on, of your neighbour who has to show you your conscience in the place, and disturbing the minds of the F. E.-Sin! that's a hard word, neighę ; congregation and minister, and showing / bour,
J. T.-Isn't it a true one?
1 is through their stomachs. But give them F. E.-Well, I can't say it's exactly right | a word or two of praise when they deserve to come late when you can help it.
it, and a good kiss. That goes a great way. J. T.-If it isn't exactly right, depend I know our long services inust be a great upon it it's decidedly wrong. Sin is only trial to a child's patience, and so make all a short 'word for that. Now, do make an allowances ; but, unless we have separate effort, and come in time.
services for children (and that would take · F. E.-I will, with the help of God. away a good many of the adults), I don't
J. T.-You're quite right in adding see the way out of the difficulty'; for it's those last worde. God's help is as much very important to bring up our children in needed to save us from little sins as great the habit of attending the house of God. ones. I've known several that I've spoken But 'tisn't the children, poor little things, to who have promised to turn over a new that make most disturbance. There's leaf in this matter. For a little while there farmer Heavysides, what a noise he makes, was a change for the better; but, as they to be sure, when he comes in ; and he's depended on their own strength, in a month always late. Then there's Mrs. Meanwell; or so they were as bad as ever. You won't she glides up the aisle as if she was going find it amiss to make this unfortunate to steal a hymn-book. She's evidently habit you've got into a subject for prayer. ashamed of coming late, and yet late she I called it just now a little sin; but, to my always is. She's almost more provoking thinking, no' sin is little. Sin is sin, and than the farmer. Then there's Mrs. Clatter, duty is duty, all the world over; and we who will bang the door of her pew. As to can't commit any sin, or omit any duty, Miss Fidgett, she sits just before you, and without displeasing God, and doing more you know what a nuisance she is. Then mischief than we can see the end of. As there's Miss Giddie, who seems to pass the our 'minister said a few Sundays ago, it's time by mentally taking an inventory of all like throwing a stone into a still pond : the the bonnets in the chapel. Then there's circles on the surface go on widening and young Mr. Worldly, who will read his widening till they reach the banks ; and if Bible during the sermon. Everything ir the stone is a little one, the result is not so its proper place and time, say I. Then marked and sudden, but quite as certain. there's Mr. Gallio, who gapes, and yawns, It's because this late-coming seems a little and starės, and lounges in irreverent atti. sin, that so many good people are guilty of tudes, when he's not fairly nodding. I it. I wish they didn't believe in little sins. wonder he comes to chapel at all. Then Now, good morning, neighbour ; but stay there's old Mr. Wheezie : how he does a moment. I've been speaking very freely cough! I never heard him cough so much to you as an old friend ; and since I've said or so loud anywhere but in chapel ; and he .. so much, I should like to make a clean makes no effort to restrain it. He seems breast of it, and say all I had in my mind. to have it all out there. I declare, what Couldn't you manage to keep your children with one and the other, one has no peace in better order during service ? You know But I'm getting warm. To speak seriously, my pew is just behind yours, and my wife isn't it sad that the solemn services of God's is & nervous body. I shouldn't like you, temple should be interrupted by such sights mind, to keep the little things at home. . and sounds ? What a pity that such things to
F. E.Why, you see, children will be should divert the attention when good children; and mine certainly are as obstre people are holding communion with their perous as most. But I'm sorry they should Maker, or pondering the momentous truths 1: disturb you, or your good lady. - of revelation, or 'when the Holy Ghost is
I. T. - Couldn't you tell them kindly, striving with the sinner's soul ! but seriously, how to behave in the house F. E.-You're right. I've often been of God, before they come? It wouldn't much annoyed myself by these things. hurt them, you may be sure. And couldn't J. T.-Then let us be careful not to you keep your eye upon them a little when annoy others. You're not offended with they are there, and reward them, if they my plain speaking, I hope ? behave properly, when they get home. I F. E.-Not a bit, old friend. I hope I don't mean with something to eat. Some shall profit from what you have said. parents seem to think that the only road | Good morning, I must be off to my work. to their children's hearts and consciences J. T.-Good-bye. God be with you!
Tales and Sketches.
“A BRAND PLUCKED FROM THE
FIRE." BY THE REV. J. M. PHILLIPPO. AMONG the numerous cases of remarkable conversion during the recent revival in Jamaica, is the following, which, it is presumed, will exhibit the power and effi. cacy of sovereign grace in a manner and to an extent that will not fail to excite the interest and gratitude of every real Christian by whom the sketch, though imperfect, may be perused.
While on a visit to the rural district in which I reside, at the time when the religious excitement in it was at its height, and where I had conducted several meetings for exhortation and prayer, I was sent for, while at one of the services, to visit an individual, who, though once an inquirer, was represented as of more than ordinarily wicked character, but who was now under deep concern for his soul's salvation. I cheerfully obeyed the summons, and wended my way up a steep ascent, and through almost impervious brushwood, to his solitary dwelling, if dwelling it could be called. A more desolate and poverty-stricken place could not be found inhabited. It was covered with guinea grass thatch, that reached nearly to the ground, by which daylight was entirely excluded, except by the doorway, or aperture, that opened into the one apartment it contained; thus excluding almost entirely the pure air of heaveninto which indeed not a breath of this necessary element of life could obtain an entrance without contamination from the reeking garbage and the decayed vegetable matter arising from the dense mass of tangled underbush around. The floor was of red uncohesive earth, worn into holes, and covered, as may be supposed, with light dust of the same hue. In the centre were the expiring embers of a fire. In one corner was a bed, or couch, a coarse mat of reeds covering a few sticks, supported by posts driven into the ground. A wormeaten table, sustained by transverse, unhewn posts of ebony, on which stood a broken platter, containing the residue of oil and cotton that had served as a relief to the dreary vigils of the wretched tenant the evening before, stood on one side. A few empty bottles and broken calabashes,
together with a cracked earthen pot, were scattered about the apartment. These constituted his whole stock of culinary utensils and other furniture.
The person of this miserable man, who had been once in better circumstances, and was by no means unintelligent, was enveloped in a thin covering of dirty rags ; his head clothed with a mass of tangled woolly hair, surrounded by a coarse woollen or Kilmarnock cap. The lower features of his face were veiled by a white grisly beard, his visage bloated, and his eyes leaden, dim, and bloodshot. He was altogether as woeful a spectacle of human infirmity as I had ever seen; a man from whose soul every noble, generous feeling, if such had ever existed there, seemed to have been entirely obliterated through the combined indulgence of appetite and passion. No smile nor gleam of happiness or hope was seen on his countenance; it exhibited but one changeless look of sullen, black despair. As I approached his cottage he sat in the doorway, wan and haggard. I found him, as I had been led to anticipate, in great pain and distress of body, but in still greater distress of mind. Ée had been the subject of repeated physical prostrations. At times, as I understood, he uttered pitiful, half-suppressed moans, gazing vacantly on the ground. As I entered, he was in a state of phrensy bordering on madness or idiocy; his eyes glaring apparently on some frightful object before him. So great was his agony in view of his condition in the sight of God and man, that I felt the blood chill through every vein to my heart; and a trembling came over me, followed by a sensation of sickness and faintness I cannot describe. The excitement thus mani. fested was evidently not that of sympathy, of mere animal feeling, or of a heated or disordered imagination, much less the result of extravagance and self-delusion; but that of a well-grounded fear, of agonized conviction. The fountains of the great deep of depravity were broken up by the Power that moved upon the troubled waters of the natural world and brought order out of chaos, and the sinner saw himself justly exposed to the wrath and curse of God for ever. After recovering a little from the state of dreadful exhaustion into which this paroxysm had thrown him, when he