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abundantly certain that there can be but one mode in which an influence so wide and important can be shared by those who might think a good portion of it their due. The power we are speaking of is—a moral and religious power ; and if we except some very transient participation of it, it can be wielded only in the mode of a sincere, ingenuous, and religious sympathy with the great purposes that are the objects of' it.
No factitious zeal, no politic compliances, no stooping to conquer, could avail for the purpose intended, or beyond the term of a few months. The evangelic work, inseparable as it is from christianity when not curbed by despotism, would quickly fail, and reach its end, unless carried forward by a genuine religious impulse.
There is then a vast movement going on near to us:-it embraces the earth :-it throws back upon its originators a proportionate moral power, a power not very remote, in some of its bearings, from political power ; and yet it is such as can be exercised by none but those whose religious convictions are sincere and vigorous—by none but christian men! The glare and glitter of life may conceal these realities from our view ; but the more they are considered, and the better they are understood, the more will they seem to deserve the serious regard of those who would not choose to be ignorant of what may even suddenly come to press itself upon their attention.— Taylor.
CHARACTER FORMED BY CIRCUMSTANCES. Look at LUTHER! Was it in cloistered ease and quietness of life, with the church and the world all his friends, and everything gliding smoothly on, that Luther became the man he was, and accomplished all he did for the world ? No, in no wise.” Luther was a man whom his Master trained for the work appointed him, amidst the convulsions of the Church of Rome, the rockings of moral earthquakes, and under the thunder of the anathemas of the Pope, with friends and priests, and diets, and councils, and cardinals to dispute with him, and denounce and curse him, and under the summonses and arraignments, and examinations and threatenings, which required the courage of a soldier, and the spirit of a martyr united.
Look at BAXTER! who went down to his grave in old age, beautiful in unwonted sanctity of character, and whose voice, in his books, is now outpreaching scores of us common ministers, and his posthumous usefulness surpassing that of many a man employing his living powers in all their efficiency. How became he the man he was? By the help of a body which lived in pain, and of spiritual trials extreme, and of enemies in the professed household of the faithful, uncounted; by the indignities, and overbearing, and haughtiness, and persecuting trials of judges ; and by the gainsaying and attacks of controversialists, who kept him continually on the alert, with his pen, for the defence of the faith, while he was also devoted to preaching it.
How was the character of BUNYAN formed? God, in his wise Providence, permitted, that as this man walked through the wilderness of this world, he lighted on a certain place where was a den, in which he lay, and slept, and dreamed;" and where his soul conceived the rich and various instructions of his beautiful allegories. And although the sufferings of Bunyan, as a “prisoner of Jesus Christ,” were grievous, yet many have had occasion, and many more will, we trust, have it while the world stands, to bless God that Bunyan was shut up in Bedford prison, to do work for Christ and the souls of men, which we know not that he would have done anywhere else. And, more than this, if ever a man advanced in holiness and grace under the very showers of “the fiery darts of the wicked,” amidst the temptations of the devil, and the roaring of that lion, who 56 walketh about seeking whom he may devour,” and of whom it might be said, “ the more he was afflicted the more he grew,” and increased in strength for the confounding of the wicked, -then such a man was Bunyan.
The truth illustrated in the case of these and many other men we might mention is this, that when God will prepare men for peculiar usefulness, and make them eminently holy, he deals by them as by that “third part” of his people, of whom speaks the prophet Zechariah-he“ brings them through the fire,” fines them as silver is refined,” “ tries them as gold is tried,” carries them through a process of melting, which separates the dross and the alloy, moulds them into his own likeness, and adapted to reflect his image to the eyes of men.
Rev. E. W. Hooker.
TIME WASTED. The various modes in which time is wasted, are almost as numerous as its hours, or even its minutes. To enumerate them all would be an idle attempt. We select only one, to which many are exposed, and in which they indulge without knowing it. We refer to indiscriminate reading
reading without an object, and at an improper time. The temptations to this are on every side. The periodical falls in our way, and we take it up and spend a few minutes in perusing it, when we ought to be doing something else. We read it without thought or a desire for improvement, and without even asking whether we can make any use of what we read. Curiosity prompts to the reading
Or a new book meets our eye on a friend's table. We turn it over for half an hour, without any object, unless to see what is its general character, or merely to gratify curiosity, and lay it down again, not reflecting that it is time wasted. Had the half hour been spent in reverie or in useless conversation, conscience might have reproved us. But conscience raises no monitory voice at this blank of a half hour interposed in our life-perhaps with the superadded neglect of some duty-for we have been reading. The press sends forth its productions in so almost oppressive abundance, that turn where we will we are tempted to this waste of time. We remember, a week after, the name of a book, if asked whether we have seen it, and that is all.
The fault, however, may not be altogether in us, for it is a chance whether the book itself has anything worth laying up among the stores of memory. The habit of listless reading of reading without an object-creates a market, or rather makes a demand for books which do not require much effort of mind in their perusal. And the demand is fully met; the market is well supplied. If all the productions of the press at the present day were as solid as those of the last century, it would be impossible for the mind to digest even an outline of their contents. But the food is light, suited to the haste in which it is devoured. This influence of listless and cursory reading on the productions of the press, renders the habit positively sinful. Its effects are bad, and growing worse daily.
Nor is this all—the appetite for reading is cloyed by this irregular and frequent tasting of every dish that we happen to meet. The relish for reading when it can be done with profit, after the performance of other duties, is blunted. We come to the perusal of books which we ought to examine with care, with a mind satiated by indulgence, when by a proper abstinence we should approach them with something of the eager desire and curiosity of childhood. We might elucidate the subject more fully, but our object is only to remind readers of a danger which they are prone, we fear even desirous, to forget.
We scarcely need add, that our remarks are not designed to lessen the amount of reading. There can be no doubt that reading by method, at proper seasons, when we feel the consciousness of neglecting no other duty, and with a special object in view, keeps the mind in a healthy state, and increases its ability and inclination to examine useful and profitable works. He who does everything in its proper season, will be likely not to do everything he attempts better, but will do more, than the man who is immethodical, and regards not times or duties.
BENEFITS OF FAMILY RELIGION. Consider the benefits which would arise from success in labouring for the salvation of your family. Of success, in the right use of appointed means, there can be no place for doubt; for he is true and faithful who hath promised. But who shall appreciate its blessedness ?
To yourself, what joy would it bring! It has been questioned whether there is such a malady as a broken heart. Allowing for the figurative character of the expression, I believe there is ; and if any were to be found on earth, it is with the parent of an ungrateful, disobedient, and ungodly child. And the agony would be complete and beyond a cure, if the errors of the child were to be traced to the negligence of the parent. Reverse this case; and measure the joy by the grief.
A beloved child, having arrived at maturity, was seized with consumption, and was now in the last stage of feebleness and of life. She begged to see her father alone. A thousand times that father had prayed for her ; and always had watched for her conversion to God. He had done so through some discouragements, but with many hopes. In this extreme affliction, nothing did he desire so deeply as some explicit intimation from the lips of his child which should remove doubt, and confirm his confidence. In this temper of mind he hastened to her presence. She was low, very low, and gasping for breath. She begged to be raised on her pillows, and seemed calmly intent on fulfilling a duty. She placed her hand on his arm and said with broken utterance : “My dear father, listen to me—timidity has prevented my speaking before—weakness almost prevents me now --but I must speak. I trust I have seen myself to be a sinner -I trust I have seen Christ to be a gracious and sufficient Saviour—I trust I have believed in Him as my Saviour—I trust he is about to take me to heaven. Dearest father! I owe this chiefly to you-to your prayers——to your counsels.—Let this comfort you—think of your child as in heaven.—We shall not be long parted—I shall meet you in heaven.” Tell me, if you can, the gratitude, the joy of that parent !
Look at the happy effect on the family. Whence come those bickerings, jarrings, and lesser alienations in the sacred enclosures of domestic life? Whence also those oppressive cares, worldly anxieties, and selfish emulations ? Come they not in the absence of true religion? Wherever she is in reality, they are qualified; wherever she is in power, they are subdued. Piety in a servant, in a child, not to say in a parent, has brought a surprising measure of bliss into a family otherwise unhappy. But suppose that most, or that all the members of a family are living under the influence of true piety, and what a scene offers itself for admiration! Those who live in one house are of one mind. All know their relationship to each other, because all preserve their relations to God. Order is there, and peace, and love, and worship. No one lives to himself; but each one for the good of all. Cares are lightened by participation, till they almost lose their name; and pleasures are multiplied till each one has a double portion. A green spot springs up in the arid wilderness of life, where are found again fountains of water and the tree of life. Angels, as they fulfil their commissions of mercy and judgment in our world, pause over such a scene, and are refreshed on their way! Ah, would you not, that your family might be such as that in it Paradise might be restored,