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Title: A Lamp to the Path - Or, The Word of God in the Heart, the Home, the Workshop - and the Market-Place
Author: Tweedie, W. K.
Language: English
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                                 A

                         LAMP TO THE PATH:


                          THE WORD OF GOD

                                 IN

                 THE HEART, THE HOME, THE WORKSHOP
                       AND THE MARKET-PLACE.



                       BY W. K. TWEEDIE, D.D.

                           WITH A PREFACE

                         BY H. L. HASTINGS.


                    [Illustration: company seal]


                              BOSTON:
                          COPYRIGHT 1884.
                          H. L. HASTINGS,
                    SCRIPTURAL TRACT REPOSITORY,
                            47 CORNHILL.



    -------------------------------------------------------------
    |                                                           |
    |                   TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES                     |
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    |                                                           |
    | This book was written in a period when many words had not |
    | become standardized in their spelling. The author's       |
    | spelling has been maintained unless indicated with a      |
    | Transcriber's Note due to:                                |
    |   Obvious spelling errors                                 |
    |   Words with multiple spelling variations standardized    |
    |     with the most common form.                            |
    |                                                           |
    | Punctuation and hyphenation has been standardized.        |
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    | Footnotes are identified in the text with a number in     |
    | brackets [2] and have been accumulated in a single        |
    | section at the end of the text.                           |
    |                                                           |
    | Transcriber Notes are identified in the text with an      |
    | asterisk and number in brackets [*2] and grouped at the   |
    | end of the book following the Footnotes.                  |
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    | Italic text has been denoted by /forward slashes/.        |
    |                                                           |
    | Characters in small caps have been replaced by all caps.  |
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    | Non-printable symbols have been presented in square       |
    | brackets with a description [astrological sign].          |
    |                                                           |
    | Non-Latin characters have been given an English           |
    | transliteration:                                          |
    |     'oe' ligature --> oe                                  |
    |                                                           |
    -------------------------------------------------------------



    -------------------------------------------------------------
    |                                                           |
    |               WORKS BY W. K. TWEEDIE, D.D.                |
    |                                                           |
    |   /Of the Free Tolbooth Church, Edinburgh[*1]. 3 vols.    |
    |          Uniform in size and style of binding./           |
    |                                                           |
    | GLAD TIDINGS; or the Gospel of Peace. A series of         |
    |   meditations for Christian Disciples. With a preface by  |
    |   H. L. Hastings.                                 75 cts. |
    |                                                           |
    | A LAMP TO THE PATH: or the Word of God in the Heart,      |
    |   the Home, the Workshop and the Market-place. With an    |
    |   introduction by H. L. Hastings.                 75 cts. |
    |                                                           |
    | SEED-TIME AND HARVEST: or Sow Well and Reap Well. A Book  |
    |   for the Young. With a preface by H. L. Hastings.        |
    |                                                   75 cts. |
    |                                                           |
    |    [asterism] /Address all orders to H. L. HASTINGS,      |
    |                  47 Cornhill, Boston./                    |
    |                                                           |
    -------------------------------------------------------------



                              CONTENTS.

                                                              Page

  PREFACE                                                        v


                              CHAPTER I.

                        RELIGION IN THE HEART.

  The Heathen--The Jew--Jonathan Edwards--John Albert Bengel
    --Thomas Halyburton--Pascal.                                 9


                            CHAPTER II.

                       RELIGION IN OUR HOMES.

  The Father of the Faithful--Parents and Children--Eli--A
    Mother's Power--Alfred the Great--Master and Servant.       36


                            CHAPTER III.

                     RELIGION IN THE WORKSHOP.

  The Christian Workman--A Workshop--Its Occupants--The
    Sabbath--Counsels--Infidelity--Its Root--Secularism
    --Harlan Page--John Pounds.                                 68


                            CHAPTER IV.

                   RELIGION IN THE MARKET-PLACE.

  The Merchant Princes--Mammon--Counsels--The Perils of
    Business--True Enterprise--Its Limits--The Prevalence
    of the False--Financial Crises--Joseph Hardcastle.          99


                              CHAPTER V.

               RELIGION IN THE MARKET-PLACE--CONTINUED.

  Mercantile Mania--The Tulip Marts of Holland--The
    Mississippi Scheme of France--The South Sea Bubble.        136


                            CHAPTER VI.

                    RELIGION IN THE PROFESSIONS.

  I. THE PHYSICIAN:--Boerhaave[*2]--Harvey--Hey--Jenner
    --Dr. John Cheyne. II. THE LAWYER:--Lord Bacon--Sir
    Matthew Hale--Sir William Temple. III. MINISTERS OF
    RELIGION:--Dr. Dodd--Other Illustrations.                  156


                            CHAPTER VII.

                RELIGION IN OUR SOCIAL INTERCOURSE.

  The Scriptural Rule--Marriage--The Heroes of Truth
    --Luther--Calvin--Knox--Chalmers.                          199


                            CHAPTER VIII.

             RELIGION THE CROWN AND GLORY OF MAN'S LIFE.

  Its Director--Its Ornament--The Prelude to Life Eternal
    --Voltaire--Sir Walter Scott--Conclusion.                  216



                              PREFACE.


An intelligent and skillful physician, vigorous, athletic, and
courageous, used to pursue his professional duties by day or night
without anxiety or apprehension. Often he was desired to use a
lantern in his nightly journeyings, but he laughed at the idea of
danger, and went his way. One night, walking in some slippery path,
he fell; an injury resulted, followed by long months of weariness and
pain, and finally ending in his death. It was a sad fall, and all for
want of a lamp. Bitterly did he regret his self-confidence when it
was too late to remedy the mischief which it had occasioned.

There are multitudes to-day who are wandering in darkness and
walking in unknown ways. They are full of strength, and hope, and
courage; they do not think that /they/ are in danger; though caution
is commendable in others. This world is full of darkness; clouds
and shadows curtain it on every hand; the glooms of the present, the
uncertainties of the future, and the shadowy mysteries of the great
Beyond, teach us with emphasis that we have need of light, and light
which men can never give us. We may draw wisdom from the experience
of the past, but what we /need/ is a knowledge of the future. This
knowledge is not attainable through any human intelligence; it must
come from Him who dwelleth in light, who is himself the light and
life of men, and who sends out his light and his truth to lead and
guide the sons of Adam. Of old it was written, "The commandment is
a lamp, and the law is a light." The work of the servants of God
has been to turn the Gentiles "from darkness to light, and from the
power of Satan unto God." It is "the light of the glorious gospel of
Christ" which illuminates the darkness of this world; and those who
embrace that gospel become the "children of the light," and are
"not of the night nor of darkness." Christ was "the true light which
lighteth every man that cometh into the world;" and "this is the
condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved
darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." Being
thus illuminated, and made "light in the Lord," we are to "walk as
children of the light;" and walking in the light as Christ is in the
light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus
Christ cleanseth us from all sin.

Whatever course we may take in this life, whatever occupation we
may follow, whatever profession we may choose, this divine light is
needful to us all. We need God's word, as a lamp to our feet and a
light to our path, to show us how to walk. We need it in the daily
affairs of life; we need it in the field, in the workshop, and in
the marts of business. We need the heavenly light to guide us in
childhood, in youth, in manhood, in old age. We need it whether
in poverty or in riches, in prosperity or adversity. We need it to
show us what we ought to do to-day, and to guide us in our hopes and
expectations of the morrow.

Of old it was written, "the entrance of thy word giveth light." If
we follow its guidance we shall not walk in darkness, but shall have
the light of life. Infidelity may threaten to break our lantern and
to extinguish our light, but this is not what we want. It is not
enough to extinguish the light we have; we need something better.
Let the skeptic then tell us what is our duty here; let him unfold
to us our destiny hereafter. Let him unravel the mysteries of human
existence. Let him give us present peace and an assurance of future
blessing, and we will give attention to his words. But we wish no
one to extinguish the light we have, and leave us in the darkness
of a midnight without sun or star, to be bewildered by the phantom
lights of a false philosophy, and beguiled into the quagmires of
doubt and unbelief.

As we trace the history of ages past, we find that the destiny of
individuals and of nations has been foreknown and foretold. We find
that men of God have looked out upon the great empires and cities
of antiquity and foreseen their overthrow and announced their doom.
Following in the track of history, we find these predictions have
been fulfilled and are fulfilling to-day. Babylon is in heaps; Tyre
is a place where fishermen spread their nets; Egypt is the basest
of kingdoms; Nineveh is empty, void and waste; Jerusalem is trodden
under-foot of the Gentiles; Capernaum is cast down to the depths of
oblivion; Israel have been led away captive into all nations, and
are scattered through every land; and abundant evidences before
our eyes show beyond the possibility of doubt or question, that an
Omniscient One has read the future, and that His Spirit has inspired
the holy men of old who spake as they were moved of the Holy Ghost,
and revealed to mankind in advance the great events of human history.

We each need such a revelation as that; one which will tell us our
present duties and our future prospects; one which will show us what
is the will of God in this life, and what we may expect at His hand
hereafter.

And such a revelation is given us, to inspire our hearts with hope,
and to guide our feet in paths of safety. We have, in the written
word of God, promises to cheer us, counsels to direct us, reproofs
to admonish us; and a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto we do
well that we take heed, as "unto a light that shineth in a dark
place, until the day-dawn, and the day-star arise."

It is this /Lamp to the Path/ which a friendly hand extends to the
wanderers and toilers in a benighted and sinful world; in the hope
that many may turn their feet into God's testimonies, and their
faces towards that city where the Lamb is the light, and where gloom
and darkness are unknown; and prove in their own glad experience the
truth of the word of Him who said, "He that followeth Me shall not
walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

                                                          H. L. H.
    Boston, July, 1884.



                        A LAMP TO THE PATH.



                             CHAPTER I.

                       RELIGION IN THE HEART.


As years roll over us, and as our delusive expectations from earth
and time slowly melt away, the complaint is very often heard that
the world is growing worse. The truth is, that we are only then
beginning to see the world in its true light. The visionary
hopes which we once entertained have vanished, and the mirage is
discovered to be neither a lake nor a stream. Perhaps we have had
to eat the fruit of bitter disappointment or of blighted hope; and
because our baseless anticipations have not been realized, we hasten
to the conclusion that the world is fast sinking into hopeless
corruption; that is, because the accounts which the Scriptures give
have been found to be true, we are ready to suppose that the world
is every year more and more distempered. Hence the peevishness of
some--hence activities cramped--hence querulous complaints--hence,
in a few cases, the very spirit of Ishmael, whose hand was against
every man, while every man's hand was against him.

    SORROW AND ITS ORIGIN.

Against this, however, as against every form of error, we are
carefully warned in the Word of God. "Say not thou, What is the
cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost
not inquire wisely concerning this." The truth is, they were /not/
better--it is we that look at them from a different point, or try
them by a different standard; in other words, /we/ change. Our
dreams have ended in the nothing whence they rose. We looked for
only smiles and sunshine, and have had to grapple with very stern
realities. We persisted in regarding this world as something very
different from what the Word of God describes--a place where man's
only sure portion is grief; but have at length discovered that the
Word of God is true. Hence our sorrow and disappointment; hence the
morbid complaints, and the cheerless repinings of age not seldom
succeed to the visions, the dreams, and the delusions of youth.

    EXPLANATIONS.

But far from "saying that the former times were better than these,"
we feel that never was there an age in which so much was done as in
ours, to help forward the great cause of truth and the reclaiming
of the world to God. We know that vice has been unmasked in most
appalling forms; but that is because philanthropy has grappled with
crime in its own dens, and dragged it into daylight, till thousands
are revolted and appalled. We know that superstition is still
trampling men in myriads into the dust, while the Word of God,
and all that would elevate man from his deep degradation, is hated
and put down wherever superstition has the power; but that is only
because the systems which are antagonistic to the truth have been
roused to more resolute efforts by the earnestness of the friends
of man. And we know that oppression in many lands, is still goading
multitudes to madness, immuring them in dungeons, or hurrying them
to death; but that is only because the oppressor instinctively feels
that the tide is rising which must eventually sweep him from his
place.

    PROOFS OF PROGRESS.

The struggles now made, then, to perpetuate the reign of bondage,
and doom men to mental and spiritual vassalage for some centuries
more, are symptomatic of a waning, not a waxing cause; and the
philanthropist may accordingly rejoice. Progression is the law of
the universe; and all the powers of darkness cannot always, or long
supersede it. If the bad be growing worse, the good are growing
better, more strong, and more aggressive. They now realize their
mission more than they did half a century ago. They are also more
closely banded to promote it; so that, instead of joining in the
cry that the former times were better than these, we are prompted
to regard our day as signalized above most by its schemes of earnest
philanthropy, its plans of mighty scope, and its luminous designs
for gathering in the nations to the sway of the Prince of Peace.
/Now/ abideth faith, hope, and love, beyond most of the ages which
are past: faith, which takes hold of Omnipotence, and therefore
cannot be baffled; hope, which turns the future triumphs of the
good and the true into present joy; and love, which exults in the
prospect of man's ultimate emancipation, according to the mind of
God.

Meanwhile, all the crime beneath which our blighted earth is
groaning, does not retard by a day the final completion of
the eternal plan. Truth is spreading. Providence, hand in hand
with grace, is slowly sapping the hoary systems which have long
enthralled our race. Those who support the truth of God are more
and more clearly ranged upon one side, and standing heart to heart
in defence of the holy and the pure. Those who support error by
oppression are more and more clearly ranged upon the other; and we
need not feel more assured that the sun will rise in the firmament
to-morrow, or that rivers will continue to hasten to the ocean, than
that truth is slowly triumphing, and error gradually erecting its
own funeral pile. Symptoms of these results appear equally manifest
in the Church and in the world.

    DOUBTS.

But in every department, men must labour for these ends. As God
has given to every one his measure of power, he is to put it forth
--or of light, he is to let it shine. The Christian indeed is
pre-eminently a patriot. "Not one of us lives to himself;" and,
in contemplating this subject, it has sometimes occurred to us to
inquire whether the ministers of religion be sufficiently explicit,
minute, and detailed in their lessons on the Sabbath. Over thousands
of congregations each recurring week, there are diffused from the
pulpit, doctrines the most ennobling, allied, in many cases, to
lessons the most cogent and pure. Line upon line is employed, if,
by any means, some may be saved, and the truth of God carried, by
the Spirit's power, through the heart and the conscience to the hand
and the life.

Withal, however, is there not reason to believe that there is still
room for more precise and definite instructions than are sometimes
conveyed? It is obviously one thing for a soul passively to
acquiesce in a doctrine, and another thing to apply the truth
to practice; to give it the control of the life, that man may be
like-minded with God, and "pure as He is pure."--There have been
men in all ages who held a faultless creed, yet led a godless life;
who would tithe their mint, their anise, and cummin, and yet forget
the weightier matters of the law. There have been not a few who
took rank in the Christian Church, who could not be trusted in
the market-place. Some who had fallen into the hands of the public
prosecutor, have, with all the indignation of injured innocence,
resented it as an offence, when those who watch for the spiritual
good of men ventured to prevent them from polluting the holy place.
In /one/ point of view, the world thus seems to be more careful
or more high-toned than the Church; and that irresistibly suggests
the question, /Can/ a remedy be found for this sore evil? Without
interfering for a day with the preaching of those doctrines which
come from God as a light to guide us to Him, can aught be added
to our present appliances, to rescue self-deluded men from their
self-delusions, and at least render their number fewer in the
different branches of the Holy Catholic Church?

    THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES.

The times appear to be specially favourable for promoting such an
object. It is a characteristic of our age, for which we have high
reason to be thankful to God, that the spiritual welfare of man is
largely regarded. It is now clearly seen that the true interests of
one class are the true interests of all. It is no longer antagonism,
it is co-operation; to a large extent, it is brotherhood and harmony;
it is liberal things devised on the one hand, and rejoiced in upon
the other, at least in the land in which it is our blessedness to
live. Grave men in the Church, and powerful men in the State, are
busy here; nay, royalty itself, does not disown the employment. The
prince co-operates with the peer, and both together hold out the
hand, not of lordly patronage--that is cold and repulsive--but of
brotherly-kindness and love.

    ENCOURAGEMENTS.

We thus see at least the dawning of a state of things which has
no doubt been too long retarded, to our shame; but which may be
blessed by God, not to introduce an Utopia, or a golden age; not
to roll away the need of labour, or the lot of suffering--these are
component parts of man's existence upon earth; but to soothe the
sorrows, to dry the tears, and elevate the pursuits of those who
might otherwise be woeworn and unfriended for life. In a word,

        "The purple pride that scowls at wretchedness,"

is now scowled at in its turn, wherever the Word of God is free, and
under its hallowing power, the brotherhood of man are becoming more
manifestly brothers.

To help on these results, then, we would now try to bring sound
doctrine into actual contact with men's souls, that it may produce
sound practice. "The form of sound words" is to be prized above
every earthly thing, but unless these words lead to right actions,
they leave us still in the condition of Chorazin and Bethsaida of
old. We would therefore try to take the truth of God in our hand; we
would go under its escort, to the places of daily business or daily
toil, there to apply the simple but often searching maxims which
came from heaven to guide men through life on earth to glory.--We
need expect no permanent amelioration for man except through the
power and the prevalence of truth, and every attempt to elevate his
nature to its true dignity by any other means, is either the effort
of an empiric or the deception of an impostor. The simple theory of
human progression, the only and exclusive means of purifying man, is
to make him like-minded with God again.

    THE LABOURS OF SISYPHUS.

Now, as the mind of God can be learned only from his Word, everything
but that will prove as unavailing as the labours of Sisyphus--

        "Up the high hill he heaves the huge round stone;"

but it recoils in spite of all his toil, and so will every effort to
elevate fallen man apart from the truth of God. We decline no fair
ally. Nay, we would invoke the aid of all that is salutary either
for mind or body. But unless the truth sit at the helm, and preside
over all; unless the mind of God become the mind of man, man is
still a degraded being; he is ignorant alike of his chief end and
his chief good. In short, permanently to benefit man either for time
or eternity without the knowledge of God, is a task as hopeless as
that of Adam when he tried to hide among the trees of the garden.
--Along the mountain-sides of some districts in this land we see
traces of the culture of former generations at much higher levels
than cultivation now reaches; but, deserted now as unproductive,
these patches are re-claimed by the heath or the furze: they furnish
no food at least for the use of man; and are not these significant
emblems of the attempts to cultivate man without the knowledge of
his God? The sepulchre may be white-washed, or sin covered over and
concealed; but all is impurity, all is moral deformity still, in the
eye of Him who judges righteous judgment.

    THE SOVEREIGN PANACEA.

We therefore take the Word of God as the grand rule, the sovereign
panacea in our hand. We try to apply the system of mingled holiness,
and mercy, and truth, and love, which is there disclosed, to guide
the lives of mortals; and in prosecuting this design, the following
is our plan. We try to show--

     I. Christianity in the /Heart/; for, unless it is found
        there, we need not expect to find it anywhere besides.

    II. Christianity in the /Home/. It must next appear there.
        Parents and children, masters and servants, or the
        employers and the employed, must all feel the genial
        or the curbing power of truth in their several places
        and relations.

   III. Christianity in the /Workshop/--from which its
        influence has too long been banished.

    IV. Christianity in the /Market-place/, the place of
        bargains and of busy trade.

     V. Christianity in /the Professions/: 1. The physician;
        2. The lawyer; 3. The divine.

    VI. Christianity in our /ordinary social intercourse/; and,

    Finally, Christianity, as the crown and glory of man's
        existence upon earth.

    THE WILLING WORKMAN.

Now, it is too manifest to require any discussion, that unless
Christianity be planted in the heart, it cannot control the life.
A religion merely for the hand has never done much for man. A creed
which teaches us only to cleanse the outside of the cup, has never
succeeded in elevating us far, or making us kindred either with the
pure or the lofty. A mere collection of doctrines, though each be
scriptural and sound, has never availed to restore man to happiness
and God. Merely to do as our fathers did, or hold, however
tenaciously, a mere ancestral faith, is not the process by which
the evil that is in man can be corrected. The soldier who is dragged
to the battle-field is not likely to become a hero. The man who
is carried to a foreign land in chains, seldom becomes one of its
benefactors. He who needs compulsion and the rod ere he will acquire
even the rudiments of learning, is not likely soon to become a ripe
scholar. In every department, it is the willing mind, the earnest
spirit, the hearty, zealous labourer, who achieves great results.
The heart must be thrown into the pursuit, even though it were only
some menial employment; and if that be not the case, then, however
he may be engaged, man will either be disgusted and repelled, or
doomed to drag a heavy chain amid his toil.

    THE HEART UNMASKED.

And this is pre-eminently the case in religion. It is with Him who
looks on the heart that we have there to do--as is the heart, so
is our religion. A new heart is accordingly the first and the grand
desideratum. All the heart is to be given to God, and till that
be conceded, we have not done obeisance to the first and great
commandment. The law of God is to be written on the heart, or
in truth we never obey it. We may as well suppose that the ten
commandments could guide the Hebrews, while these precepts were
merely written on the tables of stone, far up amid the clouds of
Sinai, as that the truth of God can profit, or illumine the soul,
while it only floats in the understanding or the memory, without
sinking into the heart. Nay, the thunders of Sinai, amid which the
commandments were given, had scarcely died away, when the people who
had heard them ceased to fear and quake--they set up a golden calf,
and worshipped it as their God; and that forms one of the most
instructive facts of history. It seems incredible to the man who
does not know the guile which lurks in the heart, but it sheds a
full though a lurid light upon the soul, in the eyes of him who has
been guided by the truth through the intricate mazes of iniquity
which exist within us.

    TRUTH AND FALSEHOOD.

Or, far more than this. Ten thousand times ten thousand may
possess the gospel as well as the law. Not merely the authority,
the power, or the terrors of the Lord may be brought to bear
upon their minds--His love, his pity, and compassion, may also
be revealed, and entreaties the most touching, or invitations the
most free, may be mingled with promises the most cheering, and all
may be employed to induce us to profit by them, while the heart may
continue proof against them all. The truth of God may be no truth to
us; His love in the Saviour may exercise no constraining power--and
what is the reason? How are we to explain the fact that the mind
of God has no control over the minds of myriads of men, so that
countless favours are received without awakening one grateful
response? The reason is, truth was never stamped upon the heart.
It is not understood that with the heart man believes unto
righteousness. The first and great commandment, "Thou shalt love
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and all
thy strength and mind," is not felt, and not obeyed; and men, in
consequence, often drink up iniquity with the very Word of God open
before them, soliciting their hearts and their affections for their
Lord. They have his Word, but it is perverted to light them on the
way to a more certain ruin.

This is all abundantly plain. If we have ever given so much as one
solemn hour to God, to eternity, and the soul, it must be manifest
that until the affections be set on things above, all else is vain.
The heart is the citadel of the whole man, and until that be on
the Lord's side, the enemy will find a stronghold there, from which
no power on earth can dislodge him. Is a man living in a state of
estrangement from God? Does the Heart-searcher know that that man is
perpetrating sin and regardless of his soul? The explanation of all
that is, that the heart has never been given to God. Christianity
is not there. Truth is not there--its place is occupied by lies.
The love of the Saviour is not there. The Word of God is a dead and
a despised letter. The foundation of the spiritual fabric has never
been laid. The first impulse heavenward has not been given. The
Spirit of God is not honoured in the heart as the temple where he
delights to dwell. Religion at the best is a cold and formal thing.
It only decorates the exterior, like trappings on a hearse. God is
not in such a man's thoughts--Christ is not in his soul the hope
of glory. The gulf between God and him is still a yawning void, and
the eternal life which is placed within his reach is practically
despised.

The illustrations of religion in the heart crowd upon us on every
side. Let us contemplate a few, and place them in the way of
contrast.

    ILLUSTRATIONS.

There is a man whose heart the Lord has touched with great love to
souls. He learns that myriads are perishing in distant lands. That
oppresses him with the weight of a personal woe; he takes his life
in his hand and hastens away to tell the perishing of a Saviour.
Now, in his work of faith, and labour of love, that man is dealing,
let us suppose, with two of the youth of a dark-souled land. He is
pressing on the conscience the claims of God, on the understanding
his truth, and on the heart his love; but against all these
appliances one of the two is stout-hearted, and steeled. There is
no room in his soul either for the Spirit of God or his truth. Some
idol has erected his temple there, and that idol, however hideous,
is worshipped with the devotedness which is due only to God over all.
Hence the heart is shut and fortified against the truth; hence the
God of truth is rejected and disowned. The whole man is pre-occupied.
The affections are engrossed by a worthless or revolting thing; and
as there was no room in the dwellings of men for the Saviour when he
came to earth, there is no room in the soul of that man for truth,
though it brings salvation and the fulness of joy in its train. The
secret of the whole is, that the heart is not impressed; it is never
touched, and it therefore repels the approaches of Him who is love,
as the granite rock repels the spray of the ocean.

    CONSCIENCE ASCENDANT.

But the case is different in regard to the other of the two:
conscience in him feels the power of the truth; it cannot deny the
charges which are brought against it; nay, it repeats and enforces
them every one, and then begins the struggle for the control of
the heart. Though the conscience be convinced, the heart may not
be surrendered, and in consequence of that, a pain, an absolute
distraction is sometimes produced--it has been described as the
plucking out of a right eye.

    THE CHANGE.

Now, when does that struggle cease? When is that soul really
surrendered to the supremacy of God? It is when the truth finds its
way to the heart, and is planted there by the Spirit who revealed
it. As long as it remained only in the conscience, it stimulated,
it roused, it agitated, it produced only commotion or woe; or, in
the understanding, it instructed or delighted; but when the truth of
God passed through the conscience into the heathen heart, the whole
man was speedily captured. There was now the willing mind, there
was now the pliant disposition. Idols were now abandoned. The Son of
God was rejoiced in, and he who before had carried the badge of his
idol on his very brow, as if to glory in his shame, now felt all the
degradation of bowing down to an idol at all. The strongest earthly
affection--that of a mother to a cherished son--might obstruct the
path which led from idols to God, and other woes might come on the
believer; but his heart had owned the majesty of truth, whatever it
might entail. Truth, the truth of God, had taught him that there is
something stronger, deeper, and more constraining than even the love
of a mother to a son--namely, the love of the Saviour to the saved,
and their love to Him in return--and thus, that soul, amid sorrows
which are agonizing to flesh and blood, chooses the better portion.
Like one who is truly wise, that man, lately so dark and idolatrous,
now prefers the love of God to the love of a creature--and that
is Christianity in the heart. That is religion taking the helm of
life. That is truth occupying the citadel of the soul. That is God
enthroned. That is conscience obeyed. That is reason re-occupying
the sphere from which it was banished at the fall. That is the
promise fulfilled, "A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit
will I put within you."

Or contemplate another example of Christianity in the heart, as the
root and fountain of all that is lovely and of good report in the
life.

    INQUIRY.

Another man has gone with no less love to souls than the former,
to win some of the far-fallen Jews to the Saviour. In that work he
encounters insult upon insult, and everything but Christian faith,
and Christian hope and love, would there faint and fail. He also
is surrounded by crowds of inquirers or objectors--let us select
two for their contrast. One of them is full of hereditary hatred
to the truth as it is in Jesus; and that very name which is to the
Christian a strong tower, is to that dark-souled man a provocative
to wrath and spiteful passion--And why? Because that heart is
pre-occupied. That man has never once seen the presented truth, so
thick is the veil which blinds him; he has never once felt its power,
so hard is the incrustation which envelopes his heart. The love and
pity, as well as the holiness and truth of God, are shut out from
his soul, for the repugnance and the recoil of the heart drive them
utterly away. He thus furnishes another example of the fact, that
there does not exist in all the world, a more intense antagonism
than that of man's polluted heart to the pure truth of God.

But the other of the two inquires--he is willing at least to
ascertain what a Christian is. He listens, and the great truth
which is the basis of all personal religion--conviction of sin in
the sight of God--begins to be felt. Whether Christianity be true
or not, that man discovers, from his own Hebrew Bible, that he is
a sinner. He perceives that Judaism, even in all its glory could
not take away sin, and much less now when it is worn out, or not the
shadow or the echo of its former self. In that state of soul, that
man comes nearer to Jesus of Nazareth than he had ever done before.
He reads; he marks; he inwardly digests; he begins to pray. The
Redeemer's history now becomes full of meaning. "He was despised,
and we esteemed him not"--"He was wounded for our transgressions,
and bruised for our iniquities"--"The Lord has laid on him the
iniquities of us all"--"They shall look on him whom they have
pierced"--These, or texts like these, now begin to be seen in
the light which the Spirit of God sheds on them, or felt in the
power which that Spirit imparts to truth, and they flash upon the
earnest man's mind with a meaning which he never saw before.

    THE JEW, A CHRISTIAN.

That man now begins, then, to feel that the truth is just what
he as a sinner needs; and in the train of that, it begins to take
possession of the heart. It gives a new tone or a new colour to his
life. By securing the command of the heart, it converts a Jew into
a new creature in Christ. He begins to glory in what was once a
stumbling-block, the Cross; or to be ashamed of what was once his
glory, his self-righteousness; and as the aspect of the earth when
the sun is shining in the radiance of day is different from its
aspect when midnight reigns, that man's soul is different now from
what it lately was. Christianity is in the heart; and as the blood
is propelled from the heart to the extremities, spreading life and
activity as it flows, truth, the truth which the Spirit teaches now
circulates through the whole inner man, reducing everything there
to the obedience that is in Christ. The waste places are cultivated.
The spiritual fabric is founded, and the great Master-builder will
in due time perfect the whole.

    THE HOME HEATHEN.

Or, without referring either to Heathen or to Jew, we might select
some two in our own favoured land for a contrast. We might picture
an assembly of men met in the house of God to worship the King
Eternal, Immortal, and Invisible, and single out two of the
worshippers to illustrate religion in the heart; and let us thus
single out two. They worship side by side. They hear the same
voice--they listen to the same gospel, the same appeals to the
conscience, the same lessons for the understanding, the same glad
tidings for the heart. They are pointed to the same Saviour, and are
equally told of his power and his willingness to save. Redemption
now, and not to-morrow--redemption perfect and complete, without
waiting for any supplement from man--redemption for "the ungodly,"[1]
and not for those who have already repented; in a word, salvation
/freely/, salvation /immediately/, and salvation /completely/, is
offered or pressed on the notice of each of the two, according to
the Word of the Eternal.

    THE WAYWARD HEART.

But amid this affluence of mercy, this plenitude of love, one of
them continues indifferent, hardened, and without God. Every new
appeal is resisted, and so thickens the incrustation which has
gathered round the heart. All within is dead and cold. Religion
brings no joy. It seems a system to fetter, and not to emancipate;
and as that man cannot both sin and be a Christian, his heart
continues shut against the influence which would separate him
from his sins. The secret of all this is, that that heart is still
the victim or the dupe of lies. There is no Christianity admitted
into it. The truth of God is kept far away from the centre of man's
being. Lest that truth should enter the heart, it is kept carefully
guarded; it is crowded with worldly cares, or plunged into worldly
follies, but left dreary and desolate as to all that is divine; the
waters of Marah are never sweetened there; the soul is perishing
with redemption in its offer; it is self-doomed to woe and to
bitterness, while the Spirit of God through his Word is beckoning
it to glory and to honour.

The other of the two worshippers, however, has found out that
"one thing is needful." He has listened to conscience. He has taken
counsel with right reason. He has surrendered the heart to God, and
that is the decisive moment when man's name is written in the book
of life. It is then that the kingdom of God begins to be within us,
then that we learn both how wayward is the heart, and how mighty is
the grace of God to subdue it. Light now radiates where all was dark
before; joy is now felt where all was cheerless; and the new-born
sensation of spiritual freedom brings a presage of the glorious
liberty of the children of God.

    CONTRASTS AND COLLISIONS.

And what renders it more needful to urge on this ascendancy of
truth in the heart is, the opposition which it is sure to encounter
in the world. While we sail down the world's stream, we may glide
pleasantly along, and need neither the canvass nor the oar; but the
moment we attempt to stem it, the struggle and the conflict begin:
we must either earnestly contend, or be carried down to ruin. What
is it that produces thunder? It is the meeting of contraries, or
fire and water. What is it that produces the earthquake? It is a
similar cause--the meeting of contraries, or substances which cannot
quietly co-exist. What is it that occasions war, and massacre, and
devastation? It is still a similar cause. It is passion in collision
with passion. It is the tyrant seeking to oppress the free. It
is ambition grasping at more and more, and trampling upon all who
oppose its pleasure--and the same law obtains in religion. Why
are God's people often of all men the most miserable? Whence come
persecutions? They come because holiness in the godly and sin in
the world have come into collision. The will of God is opposing or
protesting against the passions of men, and on that account there
is war on the one hand, produced by inflamed passion on the other.

A church, a flock, for farther example, has long been afflicted
with an unconverted ministry, and all is peaceful there, for all
is spiritual death. But there comes a change. A converted ministry
is raised up, and now begins the collision between spiritual life
and spiritual death. Ere the truth get access to the heart, it must
fight every inch of the way.

Or there is a family where, up to a certain period, all is
unmitigated worldliness; not one soul is there alive to God.--But
in His sovereign time one member is converted, and then perhaps
begin the collision and the strife. The world resents the intrusion
or the rebuke implied in spiritual decision; and if that heart will
love God's pure truth, it must zealously contend.

    THE VICTORY.

Or there is an individual soul. It has long slumbered, as the world
does, without God and without hope. No compunction has roused it,
and no alarm been felt. But something at last occurs to disturb
that false peace. Truth enters the conscience. It operates there
like a visit from the living to the catacombs of Egypt, when
the night-birds are disturbed in crowds, and threaten, by their
multitudinous flutterings, to blind or to destroy the intruder. Thus,
if truth will take possession of a heart for God, it must encounter
and vanquish a thousand enemies. In that conflict man needs the
whole armour of God, for he has to fight the good fight of faith.
His enemies may be those of his own household, or even his own heart;
and nothing but the free Spirit of the living God can make man sure
of victory in that contest.

    THE NEW HEART.

Perhaps it is superfluous to occupy so much time in illustrating
what is, in truth, so plain. Yet, as many overlook this plainness,
it should be urged in line upon line, that if we would begin
aright, we must begin at the heart, out of which flow the issues
of life. One of the most earnest prayers in the Bible is, "Create
in me a clean heart, O God,"[2] and one of its most emphatic or
comprehensive promises is, "A new heart will I give you."[3] And
would men learn that simple lesson, did they in their several places
and relations as superiors, inferiors, or equals, seek to begin
at the beginning, and have the heart right with God through the
new-creating power of His Spirit, O how sweetly would the whole
framework of society soon be adjusted! how surely would "all the
building, fitly framed together, grow into an holy temple in the
Lord!" The Church would be more pure. The world would not be so
often cheered in its ungodly ways, by the example of men professing
the truth, but holding it in unrighteousness, because they are
destitute of Christianity in the heart, where it should ever reign
as the unchallenged and unrivalled queen.--There are some ruins of
ancient cities now buried deep under water. When the waves above
them are calm, these ruins can still be seen, though centuries have
rolled away since they were first submerged. Yet who would regard
these waste places as the abodes of living men? Who would speak of
them as the haunts of the happy? Nay, life has vanished from them;
all that ever lived there have been for centuries destroyed. And,
in the same way, the heart that is sunk in worldliness or saturated
with what is earthly and sensual, is cut off from all communion with
the living God; it is dead to holiness and Him.

    THE RELIGION OF THE HEART.

We cannot glance at the lives of godly men without noticing the
prominence which belongs to this subject of religion in the heart.
Their first aspiration is for the friendship of God, and their next,
their perpetual longing is to have the heart right with Him; "to
keep the heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of
life." We open the life of one man of God at random. He says, "An
inward sweet sense of divine things at times came into my heart, and
my soul was led away in pleasant views and contemplations of them."
"The sense I had of divine things would often of a sudden kindle up,
as it were, a sweet burning in my heart, an ardour of soul that I
know not how to express." "I was almost constantly in ejaculatory
prayer wherever I was. Prayer seemed as the breath by which the
inward burning of my heart had vent." "My former delights never
reached the heart, and did not arise from any sight of the divine
excellence of the things of God." "My heart panted after this, to
lie low before God as in the dust, that I might be nothing, and God
might be /all/; that I might become as a little child." "Oftentimes
in reading the Holy Scriptures, every word seemed to touch my heart;
I felt a harmony between something in my heart and those sweet and
powerful words."[4]

    WITNESSES.

Another says, "O God, impress more deeply on my heart thine
exceeding great and precious promises, that I may perfect holiness
in thy fear." "Though God's pure Word is presented to worldly men
in ever such a variety of ways; though the provision be ever so
daintily served up, none of them relish it at heart. As well might
the preacher have the restless and ungovernable waves of the sea
before him, and think to control them with the rod of Moses, or the
words of Christ, 'Peace, be still.'" "In his earliest years he had
many pure, tender feelings, and stirrings of his heart concerning
God, and the texts inscribed on the church walls of his native town,
from the Epistle to the Romans, concerning death, sin, righteousness,
and the crucifixion, produced in him, as a mere child, emotions of
great joy and peace, and left upon him very profitable and lasting
impressions." "How may I know that I am become an heir of heaven?
How may I know that God is in me of a truth? When I have the earnest
of the inheritance, that is, when I am habitually led by the Spirit
of God, so as to walk in love, with my heart crying to him, Abba,
Father! and listening to every whisper of his Holy Spirit."[5]

    WITNESSES.

Another says, "My heart was utterly averse from spirituality.
Sometimes, through the force of convictions, I was indeed brought
for some time to aim at getting my mind fixed upon heavenly
things, and kept on the thoughts of them; but my heart being still
carnal, I weaned of this bent and of this forcible religion; it was
intolerable to think of being always spiritual." "I abominated the
more gross breaches of all the commands, and disliked open sins. But,
meanwhile, my heart was set upon the less discernible violations of
the same holy law." "Under a searching ministry, the Lord began to
give me some discoveries of the more secret and spiritual evils of
my heart. He carried me 'into the secret chamber of imagery,' to let
me see what my heart did in the dark." "Though sin might prevail, my
heart was not with it as before; I found another sort of opposition
made to it." "I have looked on death as stripped of all things
pleasant to nature. I have considered the spade and the grave, and
everything that is in it terrible to nature; and under the view of
all these, I found that in the way of God they gave satisfaction
--not only a rational satisfaction, but a heart-engaging power
attending it, that makes me rejoice."[6]

One of the profoundest thinkers that ever lived has said, "There
are only two kinds of persons who can properly be styled reasonable:
those who serve God with all their heart, because they know Him;
and those who seek Him with all their heart, because they know him
not."[7]

    WITNESSES.

--But it is needless to prolong such illustrations. Human nature,
revelation, and daily experience, agree in testifying to the
necessity of planting the truth in the heart of man, if it is to
control his life. For that purpose the Spirit of God is sent to
take the truth from the sacred page, where He himself has placed it,
and stamp it on the soul. And O, what man consents to sacrifice, by
keeping truth in the outer court as the Gentiles were kept in the
outer court of the Jewish Temple! What holy joy! What hopes and
consolations! What communion with God he forfeits! Or, how blind
the world to its own best interests, when the truth is kept cold
and shivering, apart from the soul and the heart! How would the woes
of a groaning world be soothed--how would our biting and devouring
of each other cease--how would swords be beat into ploughshares,
and spears into pruning-hooks, were truth enthroned in the heart,
and suffered to control the life! A single sentence of that truth,
honestly believed and obeyed, would soon revolutionize a world; and
should not every Christian therefore be busy, earnest, and solemn,
in spreading the truth; in seeking to have it planted deep in his
own soul first, and then in the souls of all?

    THE NEED OF ZEAL.

Moreover, the world is very solemn now, it is earnest and devoted;
it is perfectly convinced, however baseless the conviction, that
time is all in all. For example, mark that atheist. They who do not
know the dark depths of man's heart will not believe that a soul
so monstrous can exist; but as if to prove the truth of the Word of
God, a bold blasphemer has stood forth to deny God's existence, and
challenged Him to prove that the impious one was wrong, by striking
him dead upon the spot. Or mark that knot of infidels. They are
assembled to devise the means of spreading their poison, and import
additional supplies from other lands, because the home growth is not
sufficient. Or mark that group of papists. They are daily plotting
the suppression of God's truth, the enslaving of man's soul,
and deepening the darkness which already envelopes him. All, all
are earnest, zealous, sanguine in the pursuit of evil--and shall
they who hold the truth be alone lethargic, listless, apathetic?
The infidel has been heard to declare, that if he believed what
Christians profess to believe, he would be far more zealous than
they. In truth, that infidel sees that the man whom the world
stigmatizes as a religious enthusiast is the only consistent
Christian. If I believe that every sin tends to eternal perdition,
can I be consistent in my belief, if I do not repress sin by every
proper means within my power? If I believe that none but Christ can
save so much as one single soul, can I be consistent in my belief,
if I am not ready to spend and be spent in winning souls to Christ?
On that maxim the Christian indeed will act; and when that spirit
is ascendant, we shall see far more done than has yet been attempted
to soothe men's sorrows, to dry men's tears, and ease their aching
hearts.



                            CHAPTER II.

                       RELIGION IN OUR HOMES.


It is a fatal and a paralysing mistake to suppose that the religion
of Jesus is to be kept for certain days, or occasions, or places,
and laid aside or neglected at other times. It is not meant to give
solemnity merely to a few hours of the Sabbath, or a few deeds of
the hand; and while we can be satisfied with that view of religion,
we have not begun to feel its power, to partake of its joy, or enter
into its spirit. It would not be more unreasonable to suppose that
the body needs the vital air to breathe only on certain occasions,
or that the eye needs the light of heaven to see only at peculiar
seasons, than that man can dispense at times with the truth of God
as his guide, and monitor, and friend. If there be a moment at which
man is not prone to go astray, then for that moment he may dispense
with truth. If there be a single breath during which man is not
dependent upon God, for that breath he may lay aside God's pure
and holy word.

But it is the dictate of reason, the moment it is illumined from on
high, that the truth should take the control of the conscience, the
understanding, and the heart, in all we find to do. It is to preside
over thought, word, and deed. It is to direct us not merely in
actions which are strictly and properly religious, like praise,
and prayer, and public worship. It is to give a religious character
to all that we attempt; and one great reason why religion is often
despised is, that not a few of those who profess to hold the truth
forget its righteous claims in their dealings with their fellow-men.

There is a parent sitting by the couch where his first-born
is stretched--a corpse. As he gazes on the pale features, more
beautiful, he thinks, than ever now, because death has turned them
into marble, what consolation can the truth yield to him, if it has
been his habit to confine its influence to a corner, a fragment of
life, instead of regarding it as the sunshine or the vital air of
the soul?

There is a sister weeping by the grave of one who has just become a
prey to corruption. Her heart is lonely, and stricken, and sore--she
feels it would be a relief could it break. And what blessing can
the truth, the very truth as it is in Jesus, yield to that wounded
spirit, if it has been its habit to seclude and sequester religion,
to keep it apart from the business of life, like some portion of our
dress, meant only for solemn seasons or for holidays?

    OUR HOMES.

There is another. The hand of death is on him. He cannot be blind
to its approach. He /must/ take home the warning, "Set thy house in
order, for thou shalt die and not live." And of what avail to that
man is the very truth which came from heaven, if it has been kept at
a distance from the heart, like something which we dislike or dread?
Can a name, an echo, a phantom, a shadow, really avail that dying
man's soul?

    THE PROVINCE OF TRUTH.

Or there is another still. The Spirit of God has fastened conviction
upon his conscience, and he feels now what it is to be a sinner.
"What must I do to be saved?"--"O wretched man that I am, who shall
deliver me?" now embody the fears of his awakened spirit; and to
soothe that spirit, or hush these fears, what avails the solemn
ceremonial or the decent form, while that is all? Can a form atone
for guilt? Can a pageant cleanse the conscience? Can some occasional
observance of a religious rite operate like a charm, and either
silence the demands or uphold the purity of the law of God? Nay,
"miserable comforters are they all." It is truth in the heart
guiding to Him who is the truth itself, which alone can yield
the troubled conscience peace.

And, to name no more: There is a youth removed from the watchful
guardianship of his father's home. The crowded city has become his
busy abode, and its endless temptations must now be encountered.
He must hear the grossness of the licentious, and endure the scoff
of the godless. He must brave the assaults of those who have grown
hardened in guilt. He must resist those who have trampled upon
conscience, and forgotten that there is either a death before them,
or a God to meet. And what will give that tempted youth the victory?
An occasional glance at the Word of God? An occasional petition to
his throne? An occasional visit to his house? To ask these questions
is to answer them: That man consents to be deceived and undone who
is willing to be only occasionally devout, occasionally seeking God,
occasionally a Christian.

    A SOUNDING BRASS.

We have tried, then, in the spirit of these remarks, to show that if
the truth of God is to regulate the life of man, it must be planted
in his heart. Afraid lest the services of the sanctuary and the
lessons of the Sabbath be not sufficiently practical and precise,
we are following men into the different spheres in which they move,
there to apply the truth at once as a touchstone and a guide--a
test to man's soul, and a light to man's path. A creed which only
decorates the exterior cannot be that of the people of God. If
it produce no beauty in the soul, no benefit in the life, it is
a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.

And our next topic is--Religion in our Homes. If it be planted in
the heart by the Spirit of holiness, it will soon spread outward and
cover the life with its beauty. Like the widening circles on a pool
whose smoothness a pebble has disturbed, the wave of truth flowing
from the heart, first touches those among whom we constantly move;
and in no sphere can the genuine power of godliness on the one
hand, or spurious pretences on the other, be more easily or promptly
discovered. A man is in God's eye just what he is in the bosom of
his family.

    THE FATHER OF THE FAITHFUL.

Perhaps we can best and most simply introduce this topic by
referring to an example. To find it, we go straightway to the
fountain-head, and fix attention on "the father of the faithful."
Among the things which signalized that remarkable man, was his
strict regard to the fear of God in his home. "I know him," it is
said by the Searcher of hearts; "I know him that he will command his
children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way
of the Lord to do justice and judgment."--Abraham was selected to
introduce a new epoch in the mighty movements of Providence, a new
stage in that grand procession which is carrying the generations of
men forward to their eternal lot; and one reason assigned for that
selection is, that he would cultivate home-religion, or cause the
fear of the Lord to circulate through his tents. Now every word
that is employed to describe this epoch-making man deserves to be
studied--it appears a very picture of the patriarch or the priest
of home. He who blesses the habitations of the righteous, says,
"/I know/ him." It is the Omniscient that speaks, and there can be
neither hypocrisy on the one hand, nor deception on the other. "I
know him that he will /command/." There will be no betraying of the
truth on his part, no yielding to any guide but one. There is a law,
and Abraham will keep it. He is answerable to the Lawgiver, and he
will act on that conviction.

    PERFECT LAW, AND LIBERTY.

And "I know him that he will command /his children/." Not blind
affection; not that kind of indulgence which is the veriest cruelty;
not that disorder which renders the young the masters of the old:
Abraham will /command/ his children. He and they are the subjects
of a common Lord. His functions are purely executive. The /Lord/
is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; and
parents and children alike are to be ruled by Him. This should
equally prevent parental oppression on the one hand, and filial
disobedience on the other, and when the laws which we obey are
enacted by our Father who is in heaven, when they flow from Him
whose heart is love, what but blessings can be the lot at once of
him who administers and of those who obey them? By the combined
influence of authority and affection, Abraham was thus to rule his
home. Like David, he was to walk within his house with a perfect
heart, and that is the method by which parents

          "May sun them in the light of happy faces."

If the Holy One has given us rules for the guidance of all, these
rules form the standard from which there can be no sinless swerving,
and the first principles of holiness have yet to be learned where
God's will is not thus paramount.

    THE ONE WILL SUPREME.

And, moreover, his /household/ as well as his children, were to be
controlled by the patriarch. He is not one of those who forget that
their dependants[*3] or domestics have souls, and therefore take no
interest in them as immortal beings. He did not act as if there were
one God for the master and another for the servant; one rule for
the superior, another for the inferior; one way for the lordly, and
another for the lowly. Nay, the father of the faithful, combining
faith and works in their proper places, "will command his household;"
will take the control of it, and see that everything there is done
decently and in order. There will be no tampering with a servant's
conscience, and as little conniving at his transgressions. The ten
commandments were not yet given; but the spirit of them was a part
of Abraham's believing nature, and he sought to have duty done
wherever he had influence, alike by superiors, inferiors, and equals.
In a word, like Cornelius after him, he feared the Lord, with all
his house.

And farther: the rule, the standard at once for master and servant,
is given, "They shall keep /the way of the Lord/." Every other path
is that of the destroyer; it tends to death, for "the curse of the
Lord is in the house of the wicked." The question which we should
ask in regard to our home religion is not, What is done by others?
What do men think? What will the world tolerate? What will be
most conducive to present ease or peace? but, What has God said?
When that has been ascertained, every departure from it is just a
wandering into the way of sorrow. Neither parent nor child, nor any
member of a household, need expect to prosper in any path except the
way of the Lord; and to anticipate prosperity or peace in any other,
just shows that reason is still eclipsed, that conscience is still
seared or dormant, that the mind of God is not our mind, that we are
still doing as Adam did when he sought happiness in wandering from
his Maker.

    THE EASTERN PRINCE.

Such, then, are the principles which lie at the foundation of all
family rule; these would make our homes a Bethel, and our hearts a
shrine. Wherever such fear of God reigns in the soul, accompanied
with the love of Christ, there will be peace and holy joy; but every
other principle will leave our hearts and homes unblest. Tacitus
tells us that "many find it a harder task to govern a family than
to rule a province;" and it may be so where God's law is not known
or not regarded. But that law itself is abundantly clear, and the
wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein. Every family
that calls on the name of the Lord should spread out his Word before
them, and ask, What has God said? for that is the rule from which
neither waywardness on the part of children, nor engrossment on the
part of parents, can warrant our departure.--It is computed that the
household of Abraham could not contain less than a thousand souls.
Living as he did in the rank of an Eastern prince, his retinue was
such as we can scarcely understand; and yet, concerning him and
his household, Omniscience says: "Commanded by Abraham, they will
keep the way of the Lord." Like Joshua while placed at the head
of a migrating nation, and burdened with the care of millions, his
resolution was, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
Religion was to be planted in the heart of society, that is, in
the sacred circle of home; and thence, like the banyan tree, was
to spread, and spread, till it had covered or encircled the whole.

    EDUCATIONAL INFIDELITY.

And here, as we pass along, it may serve as a warning to some, if
we glance at that infidelity which characterizes the schemes of some
pretended friends of education and the young. They would divorce
religion from education. They would let children grow up without any
training in the fear of God. They would develope mind. They would
impart secular knowledge; but the knowledge of salvation, of sin,
and of redemption from its woe, its bondage, and defilement, they
would not name. Passion may grow rampant; the world may be ascendant
in the heart, the mind, and all the powers of man, yet youth is to
be left unchecked by any heavenly warning, untaught by any heavenly
lesson! Now, waiving every other objection to this scheme, we say
that it is unequivocally and utterly infidel; it should on that
account be branded with the reprobation of all who love the rising
race, on the one hand, who know their perils on the other, and who,
moreover, feel assured that nothing but the truth of God can either
make man savingly wise or keep him so. If God's favour be a dream,
and man's soul only organized matter, destined to pass away as other
matter does, it is needless to be very zealous for one scheme of
training in preference to another. But if man be immortal, and if
his immortality /can/ be blessed, only by having his mind in harmony
with God's, then the training of the young in the good way of the
Lord is a matter of solemn obligation. Man has no choice here.
To neglect that way in training, is to arrogate a wisdom superior
to God's, and the man who does that is perhaps blindly and
unconsciously, but not the less certainly, evading God's truth
and perpetuating the misery of man's soul.

But we are too general. Ere we can plant and foster religion in our
homes, we must descend into more minute details.

    THE SACRED CIRCLE.

Parents here demand the first place, and as the basis of all that
can be addressed to them, we observe that the supreme, we might say
the single maxim which should guide them in all they do, in regard
to the religion of home, is suggested by the question, "What is the
way of the Lord?" Parents who do not walk in that way themselves,
who find no pleasure there, and feel under no constraint either to
seek to enter upon it, or advance after they have entered, will feel
no obligation to lead their children or their household there. That
is the secret of our godless families, our prayerless homes, our
nurseries of folly and of woe. The fountain which should send forth
sweet water is poisoned. The tree which should bear grapes produces
only wild berries, and society is at once crowded and corrupted by
the ungodly children of ungodly parents.

    THE ONLY RULE.

But wherever a parent has felt the value of a soul, and loves it
--wherever he has found out the good way of the Lord, and tried
to walk in it--his guiding inquiry at every step will be, How does
the God of all our families instruct us to act? What is his mind
at any given point? That once ascertained, it becomes our only rule;
and where it is not our only rule, religion in that home is not
supreme--all besides is sin. "The nurture and admonition of /the
Lord/"--"The fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom"
--"The way in which they ought to go"--These, and similar portions
of God's revealed mind, point at once to the sovereign rule. True,
difficulties innumerable meet us in that way. The iniquity that
is bound up in the heart of the young--the love of folly, and the
hatred of wisdom--devotedness to baubles--indifference to things
eternal and divine, with all the array of evil influences which
assail or ensnare the young in a world where God is unknown,
dishonoured, or forgotten, may augment the godly parent's
difficulties. But difficulties are not the rule of duty. They are
only a call to prayer, to dependence on the heavenly Teacher, and,
in his strength, to steadfast opposition to all that is wrong, and
affectionate encouragement of all that is right and true. The Word
of God is thus our only rule; to consult another is to listen to
the evil heart of unbelief.

    THE PRAYERLESS HOME.

It has no doubt come to pass in our day, that that standard is set
aside by many parents who dislike the holiness of the Bible, and
would prefer some freer scope to sin than it will tolerate. They
overlook the holy requirements of God, and there are many homes
where He is never worshipped. There are children who never heard
their parents pray. There are domestics whose souls never drew forth
one anxious thought from their employers. The religion of home is,
in short, a discarded thing, and souls are trained in ungodliness
by those who should watch over them as over their most precious
possession. Now, it is needless to add that Christianity is exiled
from such homes; the truth, the Spirit, the love of God, are not
presiding there. There may be individual Christians under these
roofs, who sigh and cry for the reigning ungodliness; or who, in
some retired place, have set up an altar where God in Christ is
worshipped, as has been done in a miserable cellar, in a home where
no other place of prayer was allowed. Such homes, however, are not
Christian homes. The practice of Abraham is there reversed: "The way
of the Lord" is not observed; and when men wander from it, what can
the end be but labour and sorrow?

    THE WAY OF THE LORD.

But to a parent who really loves his children, and who would do
as the great patriarch did, it would be an important boon, could
a brief directory be suggested for Christianizing our homes, or
rendering them places where prayer is wont to be made. How shall we
subdue the spirit of the world, which is ever seeking to insinuate
its deadening influence? How shall we be prepared to do all in the
name of the Lord Jesus, in our homes? These are questions which
enter deeply into the well-being of society; and yet no brief answer
can be given applicable to every case. Every parent, impressed with
a solemn sense of his own responsibility to God, must here seek
daily grace for daily guidance, and make each difficulty, as it
rises, a new errand to the throne. Thus only will the religion of
the Redeemer preside in our homes, and fit us for "the house of the
Lord for ever." Perhaps the only universal rule that could be given
is this: In regard to any action, any pleasure, any practice in our
homes, let the question be asked, with the Bible open before us, "Is
this the way of the Lord? Is it thus that I can train my children
in the way in which they ought to go?" The answer to that, honestly
sought and honestly found in prayer to God for light and guidance,
would detect many an unholy practice, or repress many an unholy
plan. It would make the religion of our homes the religion of Jesus,
of purity and peace--the guide who came from heaven to lead us
to its glory and its God. It would infuse a right spirit into
our catechisings and all our details, and end in raising up godly
households in the land.

    INORDINATE AFFECTION.

Blind parental affection ranks among the greatest obstructions to
the religion of home. It prompts indulgences which should be at once
put away, and prevents correction where correction is an ordinance
of God. It seems to turn the hearts of parents to their children
according to the promise, but it is, in truth, like the tender
mercies of the wicked, only cruelty in disguise.

And to correct this, let us glance at an incident in the life of Him
whom no one will suspect of the want of affection the most profound,
for "He loved us, and gave himself for us."--The hour of the power
of darkness was drawing on. His enemies were gradually narrowing the
circle around him, and preparing to spring on him at last, as the
victim of their hatred unto death. He had intimated to those around
him what was about to happen; and Peter, ever resolute, impulsive,
and loving, could ill brook the tidings. "Be it far from thee,
Lord: this shall not be unto thee," were the apostle's ardent and
affectionate words; and how did the Saviour regard them? Did he
welcome them as a solace to his troubles? Nay, his instant rejoinder
was, "Get thee behind me, Satan." In other words, all-affectionate
as the apostle's remonstrance seems to our minds, it was opposed
to the mind and will of God, and whatever bore that character, was
offensive to the Redeemer's holy soul--offensive as Satan himself.
Without regarding Peter's love, then--without treating that as love
at all which opposed the appointments of Jehovah, Jesus addressed
the apostle just as he had once before addressed the tempter himself.
"Get thee hence, Satan," were his words when asked to fall down and
worship Satan; "Get thee behind me, Satan," was his equally emphatic
language to his own apostle, when he pointed to a path which was
different from "the way of the Lord."

And that is written for our instruction. Human affection is only an
angel of darkness in the garb of an angel of light, when it would
counsel us to walk in any path but God's. Parents may indulge their
natural affection at the expense of His holy law. They may concede
what He has forbidden, or withhold what He appoints, but that was
never yet done without danger of the second death; and parents not
a few have helped to bring their own gray hairs in sorrow to the
grave, by such concessions to their offspring. The father or the
mother who represses the young soul, and lays burdens upon it which
the Word of God does not warrant, ranks among the worst of tyrants
or oppressors. The father or the mother who yields where God's Word
opposes, or cheers the young in ways which our Father who is in
heaven has forbidden, is cruel to their soul.

    ELI.

But we are not left merely to infer the results of a blindfold
affection on the part of parents; these results have been made the
subject of an affecting revelation; and to show how much depends
upon the right discharge of parental duty, we have line upon line
and precept upon precept. The case of Eli, for example, a man who
was at once a priest and a ruler in Israel, is recorded for our
warning. His sons did wickedly, and he restrained them not. From
indolence of nature, or that phase of affection which leads to
connivance at sin or pampering the inborn evil of the heart, Eli
did not repress iniquity; he suffered it to grow, even in the house
of God, without any effectual restraint; and what was the result? It
ranks among the most terrific of all that is contained in the Word
of God. "Behold I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears
of the hearer shall tingle"--"When I begin I will also make an end,
for I have told Eli that I will judge his house for ever, for the
iniquity which he knoweth, because his sons made themselves vile,
and he restrained them not." Here is both the sin and the result.
The /sin/--parental neglect, from blindfold affection, or whatsoever
cause. The /result/--an amount of iniquity which was not to be
forgiven for ever. Parent and child were to suffer, and neither
sacrifice nor offering was found for that transgression "for ever."
Eli /was/ a believer, though compassed about with infirmities; but
there is only one other case in all the Word of God where we learn
so plainly the eternal portion of any individual soul, as we are
told the doom of the godless sons of Eli.

    WOE.

In contrast, then, with the conduct of Abraham, that of Eli brings
to parents a lesson as distinct as if it were spoken in thunder,
or written in light on the face of the heavens. "The way of the
Lord" was the path chosen by the one. He walked there, and led his
children with him; and like the palm-tree in its fertility, that
man was blessed and made a blessing. But evil without effectual
restraint was what Eli tolerated. "The way of the Lord" was forsaken
partially by himself, and wholly by his sons; and woe, beyond what
tongue can tell, was therefore Eli's lot while he sojourned here
below.

    THE MODEL.

Again, in the very constitution of our being the Almighty Maker
of heaven and earth has inserted a provision for securing parental
ascendency and aiding parental duty. Without dwelling at present or
at large on the power of parental affection, responded to by filial
love, let us call to mind the fact that the Saviour made a little
child his /model disciple/: "He called a little child unto him, and
set him in the midst" of his attendants, and made that child the
text of one of his marvellous discourses. Now, consider how it is
with the minds of children, that parents may be encouraged amid what
is often irksome, namely, making our homes so many nurseries for
heaven.

A little child, then, was the Saviour's model disciple; and what are
the characteristics of childhood? It is ready to associate with any
who are friendly to it. Regardless of external distinctions, it will
condescend to men even of the lowest estate.--And is it not thus
that they who are born of God should at all times act? Instead of
overbearing arrogance, or selfish endeavours to outstrip or supplant,
does not the truth as it is in Jesus teach us to do as a little
child instinctively does, to condescend to men of low estate? Are
we not taught to esteem others better than ourselves, to love as
brethren, to be pitiful and courteous?

    SIMPLE FAITH.

Farther, we commonly find a little child transparently guileless.
Infancy is proverbially artless; it is reserved for advancing years
to develope deceit, or mature the power to be false.--And is it
not ever so with those who are taught[*4] of God? They should be
pre-eminently men in whom there is no guile, whose word is truth,
and whose ways are uprightness. Who has not seen the flushed
cheek, the quivering lip, and the downcast eye of youth, when first
beginning to deceive? A similar confusion would be produced in the
conscience of him who is born from above, were he to yield himself
up to the guidance of lies. The little child is here again a model.

Or farther: Mark how devoid of care the infantine are. They repose
without forethought or fear upon those whom they love--literally and
absolutely, they take no thought for to-morrow. Borne up by the arms
of affection, and neither doing nor dreading evil, they are kept
in perfect tranquillity: every want is attended to, nay, every want
is anticipated. A wisdom beyond what the young can fancy, and a
love beyond what they can fathom, are engaged on their behalf, and
resting upon these, the helpless and the feeble are safe amid a
thousand dangers.

Now, is not that a model to be copied by all who know God's name,
and put their trust in Him? Are we not told that only the Gentiles
are anxious and fretful? Is it not announced as a general maxim,
to which there can be no exceptive case, "Sufficient unto the day
is the evil thereof?" And is not one of the most exquisite proofs
of a particular providence that ever gladdened the heart of man,
furnished by the Saviour with the flowers of the field and the
birds of the air for his text, just meant to produce a child-like
confidence in our heavenly Father?[8]

And once again: Are not children proverbial for their dependence on
a parent's word? Do they not place the most unquestioning confidence
in the information of those whom they love? Unless the parent be
detected as a deceiver, or unless the child be perverted by the
vicious example of those who should train it in the truth, not
a doubt is felt regarding the word of those with whom infancy
associates. And is not that a perfect model of the trust we should
repose in the word of our Father who is in heaven? Are we not both
reproved and instructed by such little children, as to implicitly
confiding in the promises of the unchanging One?[9]

Now, these things may well encourage parents in the training of the
young. There is already a groundwork prepared. They have materials
upon which to operate; and though all is vain without the teaching
of the Spirit of God, yet with that and the use of means, the hope
may be cherished that a race will be trained to serve the Lord when
their fathers are no more.

    ALFRED THE GREAT.

    A ROYAL CHRISTIAN.

Nor is history devoid of examples tending to enforce the duty of
godly training. Of all the names which embellish the history of
our island, that of Alfred the Great stands among the foremost.
Equally remarkable for his genius, his wisdom, his godliness, and
his trials, we might find in his single case enough to encourage
parental painstaking or rebuke parental neglect. Hear how this
monarch speaks: "To thee, O God, I call and speak. Hear, O hear me,
Lord! for thou art my God and my Lord, my Father and my Creator, my
ruler and my hope, my wealth and my honour, my house, my country, my
salvation, and my life! Hear, hear me, O Lord! Few of thy servants
comprehend thee. But thee alone I love indeed, above all other
things: Thee I seek: Thee I will follow: Thee I am ready to serve.
Under thy power I desire to abide, for thou alone art the Sovereign
of all. I pray thee to command me as thou wilt."

    A MOTHER'S POWER.

Now, by what process was this youth enabled to make such acquirements
in godliness as that prayer betokens? It was by a device of his
mother, who allured him into paths where he learned that truth which
he has so beautifully embodied. Her wise and loving heart struck
upon a plan which proved the turning-point in Alfred's history.
It gave or it confirmed that bent of his mind which made him what
he was--which led to the enacting of some of the laws which still
signalize England among the nations, as well as prompted this
memorable address to his son and successor Edward, on Alfred's dying
bed: "We must now part," the sinking monarch said; "I go to another
world, and thou shalt be left alone in all my wealth. I pray thee
(for thou art my dear child) strive to be a father and a lord to
thy people. Be thou the children's father and the widow's friend.
Comfort thou the poor, and shelter the weak; and with all thy might,
right what is wrong. And, son, govern thyself by law. Then shall the
Lord love thee, and God, above all things, shall be thy reward. Call
thou upon him to advise thee in all thy need, and so shall he help
thee the better to compass what thou wouldest." Now that, we repeat,
and similar examples may well stimulate parental diligence and
animate parental hope. In a barbarous age, amid rude and martial
men, with superstition seeking to efface all that was divine, and
ignorance combining its power to help superstition to accomplish
that object, Alfred rose above every obstacle, and stamped
impressions upon his country which all time cannot efface.--What
can Christian principle in the hands of a godly mother not achieve?
What forms may not be impressed upon the molten lead?

    A DIFFICULTY:

On this subject, however, there is a difficulty which sometimes
meets us, at which it may be instructive to glance. On the one hand,
we read, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is
old he will not depart from it," but on the other, it is too well
known that even children who have been trained by godly parents
often go astray. They make haste to abandon the narrow path as soon
as they dare, and plunge into sin as if they were determined to show
how boldly they can trample upon all that is sacred or constraining.
How many a parent's heart is at this moment aching, or how many have
gone down in sorrow to the grave, lamenting the iniquity of those
whom they had tried to train, or for whom they had watched and
prayed! Ten thousand mothers have had Monica's trials, without
living to share her joy, and the homes which should have been
like temples of religion, have become the abodes of woe.

Now, how is this apparent contradiction to be explained? The
Scriptures say, "Train up a child in the way that he should go,"
and add the assurance, "When he is old, he will not depart from
it;" but, in opposition to that, we see some of the children of
godly parents plunging into sin; and how do we explain the seeming
contradiction?

    --ITS EXPLANATION.

We explain it just by stating the truth. The child who has gone
astray never was in the right way: he refused so much as to enter it.
His training was a burden and an offence. Fear might compel him to
comply with a form for a season. The parent took pains; he corrected
the child, perhaps through tears; he warned; he prayed; but the
heart was never won to God. The iniquity which was bound up in the
heart of that child resisted every appliance. Sin was still loved.
It was turned like a sweet morsel under the tongue. Holiness
continued to be disliked. The constraints of a Christian home were
like fetters to that child; and, when his pent-up iniquity broke
out at last, it was only the open display of what had always been
latently ruling. In a word, he had not been trained, nay, he had
resisted every attempt to train him, in the way in which he ought to
go. He might be the inmate of a Christian home; but he never had a
Christian heart; the truth of God was repelled; the Spirit of God
was quenched; and the explanation is:--"They went out from us, but
they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt
have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made
manifest that they were not all of us."

On the other hand, however, does some child receive the truth into
the heart? Does sin become an offence? Is the Word of God loved?
Is the salvation of God sought? Then that child /is/ trained in the
way in which he ought to go. There may yet come an eclipse of faith.
Temptation may for a season prevail, and the world may appear to
have regained the mastery. But if the nurture and admonition of the
Lord has been welcomed into the heart, as the Spirit imparts his
blessing, the effect produced will never fade utterly away. Out
of the mouth of such a one God will perfect praise; and while some
companion beside him is growing up in wickedness, or casting the
Word of God behind his back--searing the conscience, hardening the
heart, and ruining the soul--the other is growing up to the stature
of a perfect man in Christ. Like a tree planted by the rivers of
water, he bears his fruit in his season, and all he does shall
prosper.

    THE WORLD--ITS ANTIDOTE.

But further, the subject of parental training suggests a question
which occasions not a little perplexity to some Christian minds. We
refer to the line which separates the unquestionably worldly from
the decidedly Christian, in the training of the young. There are
practices on which every Christian parent must frown, and from which
he must recoil, if he would not promote the ruin, by fostering the
worldly-mindedness, of his children; but there are intermediate
practices, regarding which he may find it more difficult to decide,
and upon this point we quote the authority of one whose weighty
words all who would not conspire with the world against their own
children, should very gravely ponder. Dr. Chalmers says: "In the
face of every hazard to the worldly interests of his offspring,
will a Christian parent bring them up in the strict nurture and
admonition of the Lord; and he will loudly protest against iniquity,
in all its degrees and in all its modifications; and while the power
of discipline remains with him, will it ever be exerted on the side
of pure, faultless, undeviating obedience; and he will tolerate
no exception whatever; and he will brave all that looks formidable
in singularity, and all that looks menacing in separation from
the custom and countenance of the world; and feeling that his main
concern is to secure for himself and for his family a place in the
city which hath foundations, will he spurn all the maxims and all
the plausibilities of a contagious neighbourhood away from him."[10]

    FAMILY WORSHIP.

But it is more than time that we should proceed to refer to the
duties of Children. Had it been our object to submit detailed
directions for a Christian home, we must have spoken at length
of the cardinal duty of family worship, without which, it should
never be disguised for a moment, our homes cannot be Christian.
The household in which God is not worshipped is like a ship at
sea without a pilot or a helm, while the tempest is rising and
threatening to rage. However majestic the vessel or costly the
cargo, she is at the mercy of the first rock--it may be, the very
first wave. "Him that honoureth God, God will honour; but he that
despiseth God shall be lightly esteemed;" and the neglect of this
honour is, beyond all controversy, one cause of the degeneracy which
is now so apparent in many spheres.

Or we must have told that parents, and very specially that mothers,
should deal with their children from time to time, as only Christian
mothers can do, regarding the state of the soul, according to the
measure of the young capacity. To stimulate them to that duty, we
might quote or enforce the words of a man much honoured of God:
"Ah, could you see your children standing at the bar of Christ,
unconverted, through an affectionate mother's neglect of their
souls, how would the scene rend your hearts with anguish!"[11]

    SABBATH SCHOOLS--THEIR USE AND ABUSE.

Or we must have dwelt on the fact that no parent is at liberty
to devolve the Christian training of his child upon another. It
is the primary law of God over all, that the parent should see
to the child's religious training; and the home in which that
is neglected, is one where a large portion of the law of God is
ignored. Sabbath-schools have been blessed beyond what can be told,
to remedy existing evils--to roll back, or at least repress, the
rising tide of iniquity; and multitudes will rejoice for ever over
such institutions. In the state of degradation into which multitudes
have sunk, they have long been our only hope--but they belong to a
diseased state of society. They are for those who would otherwise be
neglected or outcast, and can never supersede the obligation imposed
upon all parents, without exception, to bring up their children in
the nurture of the Lord.

Or, in providing for the Christianizing of men's homes, we might
have spoken on the subject of correction, and told that, in spite
of modern theories to the contrary, that is an ordinance of God
--though never to be employed till all else has failed, and to be
administered, when administered at all, through tears, as giving
more pain to the parent who corrects, than to the child who is
corrected.

    CHILDREN--THEIR ONLY RULE.

Or, in adverting to the ascendency of Christian principle in our
homes, we might mention the need of care on the part of parents,
lest they commit their children to paths, in regard to this world's
business, where a very miracle of grace is needed to save them from
destruction. Who can doubt, that in selecting the school where their
offspring shall be trained, or the master whom they shall serve, or
the profession which they shall follow, many a parent has sacrificed
his child to the god of this world? This is a sore evil; and in
an age like ours, when even the souls of men are made a matter
of merchandise, a Christian parent will beware lest he expose
inexperienced youth amid scenes where everlasting destruction
may await the soul.

But these we only name, and now offer one suggestion to the young
themselves: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord;" or, "Children,
obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing unto
the Lord."--These are the Scriptural injunctions, from which there
can be no swerving without committing sin. Did parents issue some
command contrary to the Word of God, then a Christian child must
decline obeying it, for that child is bound by a higher allegiance
to God; but in all common cases, the parent is in God's place to
the child. The parent's will is law--a law which cannot be broken
without guilt. That law, indeed, is to be administered with the
sceptre of love, and not with a rod of iron; and while children are
to obey their parents, "parents are not to provoke their children
to wrath." But still, the unvarying rule is--the parent's will is
supreme; and wherever filial affection reigns, that law will be
sacredly observed, because it is founded on the authority of the
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is guarded on the one
hand by the promise of blessings to the obedient, and on the other
by such words as these: "He that troubleth his own house shall
inherit the wind." Insubordination here is the root of wrath and woe.

    MASTER AND SERVANT.

Next to the relation of husband and wife, and parent and child,
stands that of master and servant; and here also our homes should
be presided over by Christian principle. On the one hand, there
is obedience due even to the forward; and on the other, there is
care and kindness--kindness to the souls of our domestics, as well
as in other respects. In our mercenary and utilitarian age, when
human beings are often regarded by hard-minded men, only as so much
living machinery, and when the chief question concerning them is too
often the same as that which is employed concerning the beasts that
perish--How can their flesh and blood be turned to most profitable
account?--this relation is often formed or conducted upon principles
the reverse of Christian. The employed are too ready to prey upon
the employer, while he treats them with lordly indifference or with
heartless disregard. They are thus often arrayed against each other,
like natural enemies, instead of being united, as mutually dependent.

But a better day has dawned, in which the bonds which unite master
and servant are better understood. If servants are to act like those
who serve the Lord Christ, and to do their duty heartily as unto
the Lord, masters are to beware lest their dependants be hindered
in that service by selfish exaction or inconsiderate unkindness.
This relation is not a merely mercenary one--it is degraded when
viewed only in that light. It has moral elements mixed up with it
now, as in the days of old, when Abraham commanded his household,
as well as his children, to "keep the way of the Lord." The soul as
well as the body, eternity as well as time, are to be kept in view
in this as in every relation; and never was that principle outraged
without eventual injury to all. It is much to oppress the hireling,
or rob him of his wages; but it is more to defraud the soul of its
due. It is much to occasion pain by haughtiness or harshness; but
it is more to coerce or to sully the conscience; and the Bible is
not the lamp of that home where souls are thus defrauded.

    "NOT AT HOME"--A LIE.

And who can ever compute the guilt of those who tamper with a
servant's truthfulness, and train her to falsehood, to screen them
from intruders? That form of sin is perhaps now well-nigh banished
to the highest ranks, and to those who mimic their example; but we
can picture no more certain process for defacing all that is pure
and lovely in a soul, than the practice to which we advert. And
when such a habit as the utterance of a falsehood, for any purpose,
is imposed upon a servant, that servant should resolutely reject
it. There may come the storm of the cruel seducer's anger; but
better that than the tempest of the Judge's wrath. There may come
homelessness or poverty; but better that than a polluted conscience
and a shipwrecked faith. Stanch Christian principle never yet
inflicted a lasting injury upon any one, and he need not be afraid
for what man can do, who has learned humbly, but firmly, to say,
"It is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of
man's judgment.... He that judgeth me is the Lord."[12]

    CHRISTIAN HOMES.

Nor let us fail to remark, that it was for the guidance of servants
that these memorable words were inspired: "Exhort servants to be
obedient to their masters, and to please them well in all things;
not answering again; not purloining, but showing all good fidelity;"
and mark the lofty motive, "that they may adorn the doctrine of God
our Saviour in all things." That is surely truest dignity, and again
we say, How would domestic life be sweetened; how would many of our
sins be compelled to hide their head ashamed; how would the lowly
be exalted; how would the general aspect of society be changed--were
our homes Christian homes in this respect! Were masters in their
spheres, and servants in theirs, alike setting the Lord before them,
alike serving him, alike "walking in the way of the Lord"--that one
maxim steadfastly obeyed, would revolutionize many a home for good.
No petty invasion then of another's rights on the one hand; no
haughty neglect upon the other;--all would be well-ordered, for
all would be according to the mind of God.[13]

    THE TYPE OF HEAVEN.

And with this all before us, let fathers, mothers, and children--let
masters and servants, or the employer and the employed, decide--Are
they realizing their responsibility? Are they seeking the eternal
good of those with whom they are connected? Are they enduring
no wicked thing before their eyes, according to the Word of the
Eternal? We know that a parent, for example, cannot impart grace to
his child; nay, some of those whom parents most fondly cherish, may
turn at last and rend them. But may not the hope be cherished that
the blessing of God upon the use of means will turn the hearts of
the children to the parents; or better still, to the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ? May not parents hope, that in answer to
their prayers and their pains, God will guide the young to Him whom
these parents fear, to the Saviour whom they love, and the heavenly
abode of which a Christian home on earth is the vestibule or type?
Let parents pray for that result; let them labour for it; let them
hope for it; and the Spirit of God may thus honour them to win the
young to Christ. But how terrific the portion of the parent who
shall meet his child in the presence of God, when that child
has perished through the parent's sin! How blessed, how double
the heaven, which is the home at once of parent and of child!

    THE HAPPY HOME.

Would men then be happy? Let the love of Christ reign in their
homes. Let them yield to that heavenly power which alone can quell
tumultuous passion, or charm away the unhallowed effects of sin from
scenes which should ever be sacred to holiness and peace. That love
/should/ well up in the Christian soul like a stream in the desert,
refreshing all, and turning sterility into greenness. Now, is that
the case? Has the truth been lodged in the heart? Is the mind of God,
the law of the Lord, our guide? Then the cheerfulness of heavenly
peace will glance through our abodes. They may be only a straw-built
shed, or they may be the halls of the princely; but wherever the
love of Jesus reigns, there is peace with God, joy in God, and
preparation to be for ever with Him.



                            CHAPTER III.

                     RELIGION IN THE WORKSHOP.

There is no error in religion more common or more deadly, than to
put the means for the end. So rarely does man regard aright the
great object of the soul's pursuit, that he is ready to repose
supinely upon something done, without ever solemnly inquiring
whether he has reached the right result by doing it, or only been
deceived by a semblance and a form.--We read the Word of God, and
think that it can accomplish what only He of whom it tells can
achieve. We hold certain doctrines, and because we hold them firmly,
we hasten to the conclusion that we actually possess the blessings
which these doctrines reveal or imply. Or finally, the intellect of
some is filled with truth in its loftiest forms; but there it lies,
exercising no influence upon the life. It quiets the conscience,
but it does not sanctify the soul; and the anomaly of a spiritual
creed side by side with a carnal life is thus frequently found among
men--the worst of all heresies, the most deadly of all deceptions, a
repetition of Chorazin and Bethsaida.

    THE CHIEF END OF REVELATION.

Now, it can never be made too plain that revelation, with all that
is glorious in it, is only a means to an end. Even the death of
Christ, solitary as it stands in its moral grandeur, among the
events of the universe, was only a means--the end was /God's glory
in man's holiness/. To bring a clean thing out of an unclean; to
transmute enmity against God into love to him, or wounds and bruises
and noisome sores into the beauty of holiness--behold the grand
result aimed at alike in the life and the death of the Son of God.
By dying he did accomplish other results, and the influence of that
death is felt to the utmost verge of creation, as we know it is
felt among the angels on high. But still it is the /grand result/
we should ever aim at, and that is, deliverance from sin in its
condemnation, its pollution, and its power: "This is the will of
God, even our holiness."

    THE CHRISTIAN WORKMAN.

Now, this simple truth may serve as a guide or an ally in every
sphere of life, but specially so in that sphere which we are now to
contemplate, or the Bible in the Workshop. And an incident recorded
in the Christian Scriptures will at once shed light upon the subject.
On more than one occasion the apostle Paul had to work with his
hands to earn his daily bread.[14] Though the care of all the
churches was upon him; though the enmity of the prejudiced, and
the persecution of those who had the power, tried to bear him down,
he was yet amid it all, a man of handicraft and hard labour--he
could sit down with Aquila in his workshop, and there engage in
manual labour for his livelihood, with all the zeal of his noble
and indomitable nature. He at least was not one of those who think
that idleness and indolence can dignify man's position. He was not
one of those who would deem themselves degraded by being useful. He
knew that man is born under a decree to work. He therefore wrought;
and just as this man of God, when it was his duty, put forth all
the powers of his intellect and soul in reasoning before Festus, or
Felix, or King Agrippa, did he put forth the powers of his body in
making tents in the workshop of his friend at Corinth. Enough for
Paul, if he was where the Lord wished him to be, or engaged in
what the Lord gave him to do; and without one feeling either of
degradation or of discontent, he bore the toils of the body as well
as exerted the activities of the mind; he both taught and practised
the lesson, "If any man will not work, neither shall he eat." He
felt that every man must be a worker, either with mind, or body, or
both. The last was his alternative; and we know that in some cases
the night was added to the day, ere he could complete his allotted
task. Sinew, and muscle, and bone, in Paul's case, were dedicated
to the service of God, as well as a mental power which could not
be gainsaid, except by the bigot's ever ready argument--the dungeon,
the chain, or death.

    A WORKSHOP--

With this high model in view, then, let us now enter a workshop,
and accost some of those who are there. Our object is to show how
the Bible should preside among them, to protect the character from
pollution--the soul from peril. Remembering that Christian worth
does not depend on lofty birth or brilliant powers, but on a heart
right with God, and his long-lost image restored to the soul,
consider how that image may become more and more vivid, if it be
indeed stamped on us by the Spirit.

    ITS OCCUPANTS.

And, first, not a few of those with whom we associate in the
workshop, are snares to the soul of the very direst kind. We
find that infidelity which is often the result of utter ignorance,
there rampant and rife. We often see vice rioting in the life, and
shutting the heart against the truth. A soul in which religion is
felt and loved, will hear what it deems sacred blasphemed, and in
self-defence, it may be constrained to contend for the faith once
delivered to the saints. Some of those who are thus tried can tell
of the mental anguish to which they are exposed--of the snares which
are laid for them on the right hand and on the left--the heroism
which is needed to contend, perhaps single-handed, against a crowd
of gainsayers, who know of no pleasure but the pleasures of sin,
or care for no truth but such as relates to gross and material
things. As the body is oppressed and dies amid mephitic vapours,
the soul grows sick and like to die amid scenes like these. It
has to maintain a constant struggle for existence, as the natives
of some portions of India maintain a constant warfare with the
inhabitants of the jungle--the boa, the lion, or the tiger. Men
long neglected by those who should have consulted for their better
interests; men long viewed as only so much animal machinery, to be
used as long as it can drudge, and then heartlessly cast aside; men
long treated as if they had neither souls to save, nor an eternity
to provide for, have too often sunk so far that they threaten to
take revenge upon society, by trampling out every vestige of truth
that can be found in the places of their exhaustion and toil.

Now, amid perils like these, surely the man who cares for his soul
has just the more need to cleave close to the only power which
can give him the victory--and that power is Christ. Every ungodly
gainsayer should be to that man an object of pity, like that of
the Redeemer to our fallen world. Every blasphemer, every infidel,
every man who has given himself up to the slavery of passion, and
dethroned at once his reason and his God, should be an object of
tender compassion to the soul of the Christian beside him. While
sporting with their own ruin, such men should be like another, and
another, and another call to all who know the truth, to show by
their life at least, what a Christian, or what Christianity is--how
true it is that

                  "We can make our lives sublime,
                And departing, leave behind us
                  Footprints on the sands of time;"

and the following counsels may help some earnest spirit in that
arduous work.


    THE SABBATH-DAY.

I.[*5] The most godly occupant of a workshop will be the least
surprised to hear us say, Next to the Bible, prize the Sabbath-day,
and let no man rob you of its sacred rest. You will thus find it a
tower of strength to the soul.

While we look around us, we everywhere see the blessed results of
the Sabbath rest when properly employed, the woeful consequences
of its sacred hours encroached on, whether by the drudgery of toil
or the debasement of licentiousness. See that home where domestic
comfort dwells, where well-ordered decorum reigns, and where the
parent and the child have alike their part assigned to them from day
to day. Be sure that the Sabbath is there observed; the very peace
which prevails around you in that abode, is a portion of the Sabbath
itself spread over the week.[15]

But see that other home where squalid wretchedness, perhaps unholy
riot, reigns. See children neglected, see character lost, see
poverty bringing woe in its train--a woe which is gradually rising
like an ingulfing[*6] tide upon the inmates, till at last they are
steeped to the lip in misery. See a wife worse than widowed amid the
brutalities of that home; or, more degrading still, see her uniting
with her guilty partner in godless revelry, till, like the meeting
of fires, the two together waste and consume every vestige of
what is pure, and lovely, and of good report. Now, while you gaze
upon that scene, be sure that the sacred hours of the Sabbath are
disallowed[*7] there; they are squandered in licentiousness, and
perverted into the means of ruin. In brief, the Sabbath is there
trodden under foot. The ungodliness of the week grows deeper and
darker on the Lord's own day, because the abuse of the best things
turns them into the worst; and accumulated crime, like a swollen
river, sweeps the inmates at last, some to prison, some to an
hospital, some to exile, some to death.

    GALILEO'S FIRMNESS.

And these, and a thousand similar cases, warn us in the workshop to
prize the day of rest. It frees the sons and daughters of toil for
a little from the burdens of earth. It braces their mind for the
struggle with sin throughout the week. It enables them to clothe
themselves with the armour of righteousness on the right hand and
on the left. It affords an opportunity for anchoring the soul to the
Rock of Ages. If employed as it ought to be, that day, which is not
ours, but the Lord's, who claims a seventh portion of our time as
peculiarly his own, will arm the mind for meekly but resolutely
putting away at once the wiles and the assaults of the godless. "I
know in whom I have believed," may be the reply of the godly artizan
to all the gainsayers; and he may thus proceed upon his way as
a believer, as unmoved either by the scorn or the assault of the
infidel or the licentious, as Galileo was unshaken amid all the
persecutions of popery, when he told the world the true theory of
the skies. In a word, with the Bible open before us, and the mind
of God for our standard there, he is at once the strongest and the
happiest Christian who has best learned to practise what John taught
by his example, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day."

    THE CHURCH OF THE OUTCAST.

Now, we put that counsel first, because unless it be religiously
acted on, all else will be vain. At the same time, we are now in
circumstances for putting this matter to a practical proof upon a
large scale. In various cities of the empire, there are churches
formed well-nigh exclusively of those who, a few years ago, had no
man who cared for their souls, and who had not learned to care for
themselves. They were therefore, familiar with sin. It was their
sport, or rather their daily work, to do mischief. Some of them
were at once corrupt and corrupting. But out of these very souls
there have been formed the goodly spectacle of earnest worshippers,
counted by hundreds, and characterized by all the aspects of
devoutness.

And, what is it that has achieved these results? How does it happen
that instead of the thorn the fir-tree has come up; instead of the
brier, the myrtle? and how does the desert blossom as the rose? Who
will hesitate to reply, that had it not been for the Sabbath, with
all that is blessed and all that is hallowing in its exercises, such
effects could never have been produced? From day to day, nay, from
hour to hour, pains and prayer were needed. From hour to hour, the
men of faith who put their hands to that work, had to depend on the
blessing which comes from God only. But these blessings came in rich
abundance on the Lord's own day; and now it can be said of this man
and that man, formerly an outcast from the decencies of life, that
he is born of the Spirit, clothed and in his right mind, by the
Spirit's blessing on his truth proclaimed. In the light of eternity,
such men are ennobled.

    TRUE NOBILITY.

Now, what raised them from their degradation, is yet more able to
keep us from falling; and sure we are, that were there but one man
in a workshop who knew how to prize and profit by the Lord's day,
he could, single-handed, keep his ground at once against taunts,
against malice, and against all persecution. On that day our God
leads us, if we will let him, into his pavilion; He teaches us
where to hide from "the strife of tongues," and it is thus that
true nobility is imparted even to him

              "Who ploughs with pain his native lea,
               And reaps the labour of his hands."


II. Where it is our daily business to earn our bread by the
sweat of our brows in the workshop, it should be one of our first
and most resolute endeavours, to make sure that the truth which
Jesus brought from heaven to earth is deeply planted in our hearts
and souls.--There are tender plants which thrive and bloom, or bear
luxuriant fruit, if sheltered well, but which wither and die if
exposed to the biting blast for a night; and there is a parallel
to that in religion. In kindly or in genial exposures it may thrive,
and put forth its blossoms or bear fruit; but in many a workshop it
is exposed to the rudest blasts that blow.

    INFIDELITY--

One would try to crush it; he hates it because it will not let him
sin. Like that profligate man who wished Keith's Evidences from
Prophecy destroyed, "because they were so convincing;" many cry,
Away with the Word of God, for the same reason that the Jews cried,
Away, away with the Son of God--because it rebukes their iniquity.

    ITS ROOT.

And another wishes the Word of God put down, because he remembers
its effects upon his soul in earlier years, when a godly parent
tried to impress it on the conscience and the heart. He has now
cast these instructions behind his back. He has learned to sin with
a high hand; and as the sight or the sounds of the truth re-awaken
his old concern, he is eager to drive it from his presence. The very
sight is a sting to his conscience. A single clause may be like a
death-knell, and that man hates it with a perfect hatred. That is
the root of much of the infidelity which is now so rife--not the
want of proof, but the evil heart of unbelief; not mere ignorance,
but the preference of sin to holiness.

Or a third among our fellow-workmen may be one who has known
some signal hypocrite. That pretender sought, perhaps, to promote
some sinister object by a religious profession. Perhaps he prayed;
perhaps he was a reprover of other men's sins; perhaps he was an
eager advocate for sound doctrine, and would endure no departure
from it--yet, after all, he may be unmasked as a mere pretender. It
may be discovered at length that he was all the while living in sin,
concealed, but long continued, such as to indicate that his religion
was a pretence, and his strictness that of a Pharisee. Now, having
discovered the hollowness of that man's pretensions, some gladly
rush to the conclusion that all religion is a pretence; they
greedily grasp at the conviction, because it favours their own
licentiousness, that "there is none righteous, no, not one."
Religion in every form is therefore regarded as an offence, or
discarded as an imposture.

Or, in the workshop beside us, we may find some other man who
affects to be scientific. He knows a little of Geology, and is able
to overthrow Moses and the Bible. He is acquainted with the secrets
of Chronology, and thinks that there are far older histories--older
by many thousands of years--than the records of Scripture pretend
to be. Or that man has heard a little of Ethnography, and because
he is ignorant, he thinks it can be proved that all the dwellers on
the earth did not spring from Adam and Eve. Or perhaps his learning
takes the direction of tracing the Vestiges of Creation, and he
concludes that man can create--generally, that creatures can make
each other, and that God is therefore unnecessary. These, and
similar pretensions of science, falsely so called, may have taken
hold of some minds around us, and amid the multitude of such
assailants, who are bold, as streams are brawling, in proportion
to their shallowness, it may not be always easy to be steadfast
and unmoveable.

But to render us unmoveable--to arm us against such assailants
--nothing will suffice, till Christ dwell in our hearts by faith;
till his truth be /our property/; till the Saviour be a Saviour, and
pardon a pardon, /to us/. A religion which has merely been handed
down to us by our fathers, will not stand the rude shock of such
assaults as have been named. We need to be rooted and grounded in
the truth. We require a better and a deeper teaching than man's.
It must be a fixed conviction in our soul, that religion does not
consist in observing mere forms or seasons, however devoutly. Christ
must dwell in the heart, just as the blood must be in the body, and
circulate there as a vitalizing power.

    THE PANOPLY.

On this subject we cannot be too urgent. While there is absolutely
no panoply but truth, our convictions need to be reinforced by
the feeling, that it is not toil that degrades man; it is not hard
labour that ranks him among the lower orders; it is sin. Adam, in
innocence, had to work, and that did not degrade him. But he sinned,
and that laid him in the miry clay. Paul the apostle had to work,
and felt no dishonour in it. The only dishonour which he knew, was
rebellion against God; and if we would resist the temptations which
assail us from without or from within, we need to make sure that
we are on the Lord's side; that his truth is in our hearts; that
it keeps watch in our souls, ready to sound an alarm, and summon
us to action against every enemy. Without that, surrounded as we are
in the workshop with clouds of enemies, we shall be like the willow
wand before the blast, and driven of the wind and tossed; but with
the grace of God in the soul, we may be strong in the Lord and the
power of his might; we may beat back our assailants--some have won
them to their cause. No power but truth, we repeat, will ever make
us steadfast. Some invest our "cottage homes" with the attractions
of poetry, and tell that

                 "Fearless there the lowly sleep,
                  As the bird beneath their eaves."

But it is not poetic embellishments--it is nothing factitious in
man's lot--it is the simple truth of God uniting to Christ, that
elevates or ennobles the soul.

    BAPTISMAL SUPERSTITION.

There are some dark-souled tribes in Africa, whose whole religion
consists in charms and incantations. By means which we need not
tarry to describe, they try to ward off what they reckon evil, or
to obtain what they reckon good. Now, strange as it may appear,
that folly is native to the mind of man. The very same tendency
which makes a degraded savage trust to a charm, makes some who
are not savages trust to rites, and ceremonies, and forms. One
man concludes that he and his children are born again, or made the
children of God, by the mere fact that they were baptized--that
is, by a ceremony. Another thinks that his soul is right, because
he worships among Christians. A third concludes that all is well,
because the sacrament of the Supper has been administered to him;
that rite is to many a soul what the extreme unction of popery is--a
charm, an incantation, and nothing more. Now, while that is the only
form of religion in man's soul, he will prove the ready victim of
the snares and entanglements of the workshop. If the truth of God be
not rooted in the heart, no man can stand. We repeat it, and repeat
it--there is only one power that can either make us steadfast or
keep us so--the grace of God in truth; and the man who confides
in aught else for conquest, is already tottering to his fall.

    OUR ALLIES.

Observe, however, we disown no right ally in this holy warfare.
All knowledge that deserves the name--science as far as it can be
acquired--should be acquired by every occupant of the workshop, and
some memorable examples of success in its culture could be named.
These, and all that can either strengthen or expand the mind, should
be cultivated to the uttermost of our power; but with all these,
the mind may become an easy prey to baseless delusions, unless
the wisdom which comes from above be our guide. While we hold
our convictions firmly, we must hold them as God's truth, and in
God's strength, or they will soon be wrung from our grasp. To be
self-reliant is in some respects a duty which we owe to ourselves;
but yet to trust to our own resources, our own wisdom or strength,
is the high way to shame and confusion at the last. We are prepared
to resist and to triumph only when we have on the whole armour of
God. If we try to realize a Saviour's love, we have a sure defence;
but whatever would withdraw us from that holy influence, whether
it be the deceitful heart within, or an ensnaring world without,
is just like the smoke from the abyss--it is loaded with darkness
and death to the soul.

    HUMAN DEVICES.

There is a canoe floating lazily on the waters of the St. Lawrence.
All is bright on either side; and forests which nothing but the
wild beast or the tempest has disturbed for centuries, wave in
the plenitude of summer richness. In that canoe there is a boatman
asleep, and the gentle gliding of his little craft is fitted rather
to rock than to rouse him. Gradually, however, the river flows
more rapidly. The boat, with its sleeping cargo, feels the suction,
and now rushes with increasing velocity along. Its agitation at
length rouses the sleeper, but it is too late. His skiff feels
the resistless power of the current; and, amid wild gesticulations,
he plunges into an abyss where his very fragments are destroyed.
And similar results are seen in the moral world, when men permit
themselves to be drawn within the suction of that current which is
sweeping so many down to ruin for ever.

    SECULARISM.

Were it needful further to enforce this subject, we might refer to
the ever-varying forms of delusion which heady and selfish men often
obtrude on the notice of their fellow-workmen. Even in the course
of a single generation we may count scheme after scheme--Utopian
reforms--charters--new distributions of property or power--all
designed to enlist men's sympathies in favour of some dream-like
project, only to plunge its abettors into a deeper abyss than
before. The most recent of these assumes the name of /Secularism/.
It has for its object the abolition of Christianity, and all that
relates to the soul. One of its leading maxims is, "The precedence
of the duties of this life over those pertaining to another world;"
and, by the advocacy of such opinions, the system and its supporters
adapt themselves to all that is low and grovelling in the fallen
soul. They beguile the unwary, and make an easy conquest of those
who have no religion but that of their country or their fathers. Or
another dogma of the system is, that "the atonement of Christ is
unsatisfactory as a scheme, and immoral as an example;" and by
such tenets men would tear up the foundation on which the hopes
of mortality repose: they proudly but blindly sport with their own
ruin, and glory in lowering themselves to the level of the beasts
which perish.

    THE HEAVENLY ANTIDOTE.

Now, against such satanic schemes, there is no safeguard but
one--the truth as it is in Jesus, planted in the heart by his
Spirit, and tended there by his grace. Our religion, or what we
call religion, will perish like flax before the flame, when such
deceivers assail, unless we have felt the truth in its power, and
know, in spite of all opposition, that it /can/ guide, /can/ purify,
/can/ bless the soul. What more congenial to man than to be told
that he need not care much about his soul? What can throw open the
door for indulgence so widely as to be assured that we need not
prepare for hereafter--that earth is all? What can more perfectly
pamper the selfishness of man than to be told that "spiritual
dependence may lead to material destruction?" Hence the danger of
such bold blasphemies. They find an ally, and often a ready welcome,
in the heart of man; and hence also the necessity of getting hold
and keeping hold of the heavenly antidote to all such delusions.
That antidote is the truth--the truth of God felt in the heart, and
guiding the life; and with that in our possession, we repeat /in our
possession/, we may humbly take up the great Reformer's eulogy, and
say, "I will not fear the face of man." God and man, this world and
the next, are alike provided for in the Word; and when we learn to
welcome all God's revelation, we shall be guided into every good and
holy way.


    THE COWARDICE OF SIN.

III. A third counsel for our guidance in the workshop is, briefly
--Be consistent. Never forget that the man who tries to be a
Christian to-day, and complies with the enticements of sinners
to-morrow, is one who is easily despised. The ungodly are lynx-eyed
to mark his inconsistency, and prompt enough to pour contempt upon
him. A single rash act, a single rash word, may inflict a wound upon
the soul, or a blemish upon the character, from which it will not
easily recover; nay, like a moral palsy, it may strike us with
weakness and timidity for life. If we would be Christians at all, we
must be Christians always. Then by the grace of God we are safe, and
it would be pleasant to tell of some who have thus resisted the tide
of iniquity which broke against them in the workshop, or silenced
the abundance of abuse.--The sinner is, by a necessary law, a coward.
He fears God, though he will not own it; he fears conscience, and
tries to trample it out as a dangerous spark; he fears perdition,
though he seems to be stout against it; and, moreover, he fears a
humble, living, consistent Christian, though he pretends only to
despise him. The sinner, we repeat, is a coward, by a necessary law.
Terror is part of the wages of sin; and though sinners in crowds be
courageous, /alone/ they are timid and discomposed. They shrink from
the glance of a good man's eye; in their secret heart they fear him
with a fear which in some cases passes into love.

    A MORAL PESTILENCE.

Now, the knowledge of that should make the believer bold and firm.
By consistency he will subdue--he may be the means of winning some
from the error of their ways. He will generally find some Aquila
with whom to associate as he works. His God will raise up some
like-minded companion with whom he can take sweet counsel; and if
that believer will seek to keep alive in his memory, in the workshop
and everywhere, the conviction, that there is only one really
formidable thing in all God's world, /that is sin/, he will be made
more than a conqueror. Swayed by that deep conviction, the occupant
of the workshop may often be vexed, as Lot was in Sodom; but,
appealing to the Wonderful, the Counsellor, strength will be
supplied according to his day, while conscience is kept unsullied
and at peace. The squalid victim of sin will be a beacon. The bold
blasphemer will be an object of utmost pity. The Secularist, and
all who give earth precedence to heaven, or man to God, or sin
to holiness, will be shunned as a moral pestilence; and the felt
necessity of being much at the fountain, amid all these sources of
contamination, may turn the workshop into a Bethel. We could tell
of more than one instance in which that has been the case.


    ANALOGIES.

IV. As it is not our object to enter into details, but mainly to
submit such general suggestions as Christian wisdom may enable men
to apply as occasion requires, we need scarcely say--At once, and
resolutely, put away all the sinful compliances which may be common
in the business which you pursue. There are usages, there are
expressions, there are pretexts in many departments which pure
principle would at once put down, and let the workman of integrity
disown such things. The commonness of a sin only makes it worse;
and instead of pleading that as a reason for compliance, it is, in
truth, a reason for our instant recoil. And never take up the words
which are common on the lips of some, that they may cover their
iniquity, although the veil be thin: "An honest man cannot live
now--that is, we must employ finesse, or fraud, in order to obtain
a livelihood, or clear our way through the world." Such a statement
is a slander against the truth; it is dishonouring to the God of
truth, and the very reverse of it is true. But write it deep upon
the conscience, that "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
than a stalled ox and strife," and be assured that godliness has
the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is
to come. Be poor, but be not unprincipled. Sit down to very humble
fare, rather than harbour an angry conscience. When sinners entice
you, do not consent, whatever be the bribe. Holding fast your
integrity, in the strength of your God, he will redeem his promise,
"Bread shall be provided, and water made sure," and "Better is the
little that a good man hath, than the riches of many wicked."

Would you struggle for your life were you suddenly to fall into a
stream or the sea? You would: then will you calmly sink to rise no
more for ever, as regards the soul? Would you repel the attack of
a robber were he to invade the midnight silence of your home? You
would: then with equal earnestness, but in almighty strength, repel
the invader--the man that would be the assassin of your soul. Would
you refuse to let the oppressor plant his foot on the happy island
of your home? You would hasten, I believe, to sweep him from our
borders. Then, with equal heroism, defend the freedom which the Son
of God bestows--freedom from the bondage of sin, from its pollution
and its curse.

    TOKENS FOR GOOD.

Nor should it be forgotten for the encouragement of the sons of
toil, that there is in our day a gradual approximation of the
classes of society. The spreading of education, and the attempts
of one class to benefit another, are bringing men more closely
together, to link them, as we have seen, in more brotherly concord.
There may still be the scowl of defiance from the lawless, and plots
on the part of the disaffected, while on the other hand, there are
still some remains of a class fast verging to extinction, who would
doom the people to hopeless ignorance and toil. But these are nearly
obsolete notions, and men are more cordially walking together now,
like those who are agreed. In the brief space of a quarter of a
century, the hopes of philanthropists once deemed Utopian, have
been turned into realities; and while the doctrine of Christ is
thus adorned, men's sorrows are soothed, their souls are blessed.

Many other counsels might be added to those now advanced. We might
say--In the workshop avoid all high debate. It never leads to
edification; it often occasions the loss both of our temper and
our cause. "Be always ready to give to every one that asks it, a
reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." Be as
ready to protest against all that is hostile to the soul and the
happiness of man. But contention about religion is often its death;
and we would rather say, Hold in your mouth as with a bridle when
the wicked are before you. Let /the life/ argue for the Saviour and
his cause, far more than the lip. In that way, men will be compelled
to take knowledge of you that you have been with Jesus. The life
of a Christian is always the most conclusive argument and the most
solemn appeal. "Study to be quiet, and to do your own business,
and to work with your own hands," and let the contentious bite and
devour, without retaliation from you.

We might farther say--Be diligent. Above all, be diligent for Christ.
It is thus that his people learn to put on armour of proof against
all temptation. They redeem the time. They try to do all in the name
of Christ, and he becomes like walls and bulwarks round about them.
If you will learn to be a "miser of moments," you may grow rich for
eternity.

    THE TEMPTER A REPTILE.

Or we might say--When temptations come, remember that ere the first
tempter succeeded, he had to become a reptile; and he that would
tempt you is by that act a degraded being. He is to be shunned as
an offence; as debased himself, and therefore anxious to debase.
Such men may sell their souls for woe, but surely "in vain is the
snare set in the sight of any bird--" will you follow the example
of a self-destroyer?

Or we might add--Be not deceived by any of the pretexts which
cunning men adopt to beguile and ensnare. On the one hand, they
flatter /the working/ classes, as if all were idle except the
inmates of the workshop; but you know that it is not so. What Paul
said to the Colossians concerning his own doings, is true of many
still: "I toil, agonizing," he said, "with the energy of Christ." On
the other hand, men speak of the lower orders as if /you who toil/
were they. But the really low are the men who live in idleness and
sin. It is not toil, it is guilt that lowers or degrades us; and
that conviction should be rooted in all our minds.

    ILLUSTRATIONS.

But enough. Let the men of handicraft and hard labour cling close
to the Bible, for it alone can ennoble and purify. Before its light,
let all grow pale; before its wisdom, let all appear foolish.--As
we approach the mighty Alps, other objects begin to seem small or
diminutive; and after our eyes have been familiarized with those
majestic masses, what formerly appeared grand seems now reduced to
littleness.--Let it be so in the moral world. Before the majestic
truth of God, let every human being do obeisance, like the sheaves
of his brothers to the sheaf of Joseph; and when we are like-minded
with our God, we shall be strong in his strength, and happy with his
peace. We cannot be always in his house--our daily toils forbid it;
but we should be always in his Spirit; and that is light, that is
strength, that is a passport for man to glory.

Upon a subject so full of interest as the moral condition and
prospects of those who spend their days in workshops, we should not
perhaps be contented with merely announcing general rules, however
sound or scriptural they may be. It is commonly supposed that the
humble men who are so employed are cut off from the nobler outlets
for philanthropy, or from those higher walks in which some move and
do great deeds before the world's view. But no mistake can be more
unfounded. The mighty Maker of heaven and earth has debarred no man
from doing good, if man himself be inclined; and some of the noblest
benefactors of our land or race, have been found among the very
classes too commonly supposed to be doomed only to toil. We waive
all reference to those who, by their inventions, even while engaged
in manual labour, have extended the resources of our empire, and
added to the riches of our globe. We pass by those who have risen
from among the sons of handicraft to take rank among our lawgivers,
our nobles, and other signalized men. We point to only two examples
not less illustrious as benefactors than they were humble in their
sphere.

    HARLAN PAGE.

HARLAN PAGE was born at Coventry, in Connecticut, in the year
1791, and was taught by his father the trade of a house-joiner.
He received a good common education. For twenty years and more he
lived without much concern regarding his soul, but in the year 1813,
"the one thing needful" really became an object of earnest pursuit.
Such was his anxiety and distress on account of sin, that he had
frequently to retire from his work to pray. On journeys he often
felt constrained to withdraw to some thicket for a similar purpose;
and on one occasion, after he had begun to teach a school, his
sense of his lost condition as a sinner became so intense, that
he felt that he could not again leave the throne of grace till
the controversy with his Maker was closed. There, in the darkness
of midnight, and under the guidance, none can doubt, of the Holy
Spirit, he consecrated himself to the Redeemer, not merely in the
confidence of pardon and acceptance, but with the determination
to live and labour to promote His glory in the salvation of the
perishing. "When I first obtained hope," he said on his dying bed,
"I felt that I must labour for souls. I prayed, year after year,
that God would make me the means of saving some."

    "BEHOLD HE PRAYETH."

And his prayer was signally answered. Never did Page lose an
opportunity of holding up the lamp to souls. By letters, by
conversation, by tracts, by prayers, by appeals and warnings, as
well as by a holy and an earnest example, did he try to reclaim
the wandering or edify the believer. In factories, in schools, and
elsewhere, did this mechanic labour, and only the mighty power of
grace can explain how one so humble could achieve so much: his life
is a speaking comment on the words, "God hath chosen the foolish
things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the
weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath
God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things
that are." "Our faith in eternal realities is weak," he cried,
"and our sense of duty faint, while we neglect the salvation of
our fellow-beings. Let us awake to duty, and while we have a tongue
or pen, devote them to the service of the Most High, not in our own
strength, but with strong faith and confidence in him."

    LOVE TO SOULS.

Now, the record of this man's life shows that no day was allowed
to pass without something done for the good of others' souls. What
Page mainly aimed at was the conversion of the unconverted; and
the extent to which he was honoured may be viewed as at once an
encouragement and a reproof. His own soul was all aglow when he
heard of one after another brought to the Saviour. While he wept
over men's impenitence, he exulted when he heard they had welcomed
the call. He tried to win the young and warn the old, and his
pleadings with sinners were sometimes most pathetic. "Shall neither
man nor God," he said to one, "hear from your lips, 'O my sins,
my sins, I fear they will ruin my soul for ever?' Shall no prayer,
'God, be merciful to me a sinner,' break from your heart?" "You are
now in an awful crisis," he said to another. "Your eternal all may
depend on the course you take. The Lord has taught you by his Spirit
that you are a wretched, perishing sinner. You feel that you have
no preparation for heaven, and see nothing before you but eternal
woe. O, my friend, /there is a refuge/. The Lord Jesus invites,
in melting strains, 'Look to me, and live; come unto me, and find
rest!' O go to Him /now/, as you value your precious, your immortal
soul."

    A SPIRITUAL HARVEST.

At other times Page was brief and sententious, but solemn.
Seeing four youths, for example, on one occasion employed in some
thoughtless course, he accosted them, and drove this laconic warning
like a nail into their conscience, "Prepare to meet thy God!"--and
it was blessed. In a word, he sowed beside all waters, and the
increase was proportioned to his faith. All this took place
amid bodily weakness and daily toil, insomuch that his ailments
obliged him at last to seek a change of occupation, and he for
some time taught a school during the winter seasons. One hundred
and ninety-five pupils passed through the hands of Page in that
character. The history of seventy of them is unknown; but of the
remaining one hundred and twenty-five, eighty-four are thought to
have given evidence of conversion, and six became preachers of the
gospel. In another place, fifty-eight were supposed to have been
brought to Christ by his instrumentality. Such was the blessing
which made him and others rich and added no sorrow.

Nor need we wonder. So intense was the ardour of Page in dealing
with souls, that he has been known even in sleep to suppose that he
was expostulating with them, and to awake in tears of earnestness
and pain. Knowing that every child of the fallen Adam must either
be born again, or never see God, he made that the burden of all his
endeavours, his prayers, his struggles, and tears. To labour for
that became a portion of his very being; and he died as he had
lived, beckoning all around him to follow him to be for ever with
the Lord.

Here, then, is a man in humble life, without any adventitious aid,
without any learning, for many years the occupant of a workshop, yet
living, labouring, dying to win souls to Christ. He was, indeed, a
sweet savour of Christ wherever he went; and should not the example
of Harlan Page summon many in his own sphere to go and do likewise?
Does it not prove, that if we have the grace of God in our heart,
it is not rank, or wealth, or learning, or power, but a willing mind,
and consecration to Christ, his cause and glory, that are required to
accomplish great things? Let our artizans imbibe the spirit of Page,
and then they may be honoured as he was; it may be inscribed upon
their tombstones as it was upon his, "He ceased not to warn every
one night and day with tears."

    JOHN POUNDS.

JOHN POUNDS was another benefactor to society who deserves to be
held in perpetual remembrance. He was born at Portsmouth in the
year 1766. By the fracture of a limb, he was forced to change
his employment as a shipwright for that of a shoemaker, or rather
shoe-mender, for he never rose to the rank of a maker, and as the
occupant of a "weather-boarded tenement" in his native town, John
divided his time between his awls and deeds of active benevolence.
A cripple himself by his accident, he had also the charge of a
decrepit nephew; and the boy for some time divided the attention of
Pounds with a number of tame birds which he kept from affection or
for amusement. By exercising his ingenuity and benevolence at once,
he succeeded in restoring some degree of soundness to his nephew: he
then undertook to teach him to read; and that led him to seek some
companion for his ward and pupil, under the wise impression that the
one would stimulate the other, and the progress of both be promoted.
His pupils gradually increased in number: his love of teaching grew
upon him, and the work soon knew no limits but those of John's very
humble abode. It was about six feet wide by eighteen in length;
and in that apartment did Pounds, surrounded by his scholars, ply
his double avocation of cobler and schoolmaster. The progress of
the scholars was as diverse as the employments of the master; but
he bore all with gladness. He had his eye upon each outcast in
the group, and by his expertness he showed that he was a born
teacher--his gift lay in training.

    A LOWLY PHILANTHROPIST.

As Pounds rose in popularity, the applications for admission to
his seminary increased; and with a remarkable but wise instinct,
he selected "the little blackguards" in preference to others, that
he might enjoy the pleasure of breaking them in like the wild ass's
colt. Some he would allure to his school by such poor bribes as he
could command; and though his labours were unrequited, though he had
not the means of purchasing school-books, but taught the alphabet
from handbills and fragments of old volumes, yet some hundreds of
persons owed all the learning they ever acquired to this facetious,
devoted, and humble philanthropist. He helped to keep down the
calendar of crime, and sent not a few into life possessed of
acquirements sufficient to impart respectability in their sphere,
who, had it not been for John Pounds, the founder of Ragged Schools,
might have become the pests or the plunderers of society.

    MAN'S RUIN AND RISE.

Such, then, is another instance of philanthropy, in one of the
humblest of mankind. After this, why wait for some costly apparatus
for doing good? Why delay the attempt to make the world better,
however humble our sphere may be, when we see one so lowly, yet so
honoured--so poor, yet making so many others rich? Nay, with the
grace of God in the heart, and love to souls as its invariable
attendant, be it the felt duty, the privilege, the resolute vow
of all, even in the workshop, to seek to convert some sinner from
the error of his ways, and thereby hide a multitude of sins.--As
one wanders over the Seven Hills of Rome, he may often pick up a
marble fragment of a frieze, a portion of a capital, a volute, or
a triglyph, telling of the grandeur which once was there, when the
palace of the Cæsars crowned more than one of the hills, and the
"Golden House" of Nero formed the glory of the whole. And, in like
manner, amid the ruins and the /debris/ of our fallen nature, we
sometimes find what reminds us of its primal glory, and of the depth
to which it has fallen; and yet assuring us, that fallen though it
be, it may not have fallen for ever. Benefactors to humanity, like
Harlan Page and John Pounds, occupy that rank among men.

    SERVING THE LORD.

There is no weariness to him who works for Christ: he is willing to
spend and be spent. No sullen drudgery is his, as if work were only
a doom--nay, rather cheerful work from a glad, emancipated spirit,
and joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. That sweetens toil;
that braces the arm; that nerves man's spirit for all that can ever
come; and even his daily work, as a husbandman, or an artizan, is
thus spiritualized into a service to his God.



                            CHAPTER IV.

                   RELIGION IN THE MARKET-PLACE.


Let not the design of these chapters be forgotten.

There are few opinions more prevalent among men, than that religion
is to be attended to only at certain places or on set occasions.
While some entirely neglect it, and live from day to day without one
solemn thought of God or the soul, others would attend to it only at
fixed seasons, or when established usage calls them. At other times,
religion is reckoned an intruder. It interferes with the pursuits,
or it interrupts the pleasures of men. It must therefore be kept
in its proper place, without venturing to appear in the ordinary
business or the common intercourse of life.

The Romanist, accordingly, hurries to Mass; and that over, he
hastens away to his holiday, his folly, and his sports. The
formalist, whether Protestant or Romanist, complies with his
routine, appears at church, or tells his beads, and then dismisses
religion from his thoughts. The young leave religion to the old.
The old often postpone its claims, till attention to it is useless,
unless it could operate like a charm; and thus the one thing needful
is the last thing that some will permit to obtain any ascendency
over their minds.

    THE ALIMENT OF THE SOUL.

But instead of adopting such maxims, all who are in earnest about
the world to come have felt, that just as the body needs the vital
air at all times, the soul at all times needs the guidance of
truth; or as the body may die, in the twinkling of an eye, if it
be deprived of that which is appointed by God to keep it in life,
so the soul cleaves to the dust--it becomes dead to the noblest of
all objects, even to God and eternity--when it is not constantly fed
or constantly stimulated by the truth which connects us with Him in
whom we live, and move, and have our being.

Under the deep conviction of that, we have tried to show how the
truth which the Spirit teaches in the Word of God, should be mingled
with all that we do. Far from leaving it out of view for a breath,
it is a party to all our transactions; it should be a counsellor in
all our difficulties, and a guide in all the relations of life. The
heart, the home, the workshop; the place of public resort, as well
as the place where no eye sees, and no ear hears, but God's, should
find us evermore accompanied by the truth, evermore subject to
its control, while it directs our thoughts, our words, and deeds,
according to the will of God.

We are now, then, to contemplate Christianity in the Market-place,
or the place where business is wont to be done. Epithets of
contempt have been applied to us as a nation, because of our busy
engrossments in the countless departments of buying, and selling,
and getting gain; and it cannot but be important to consider the
maxims which should guide us in such pursuits.

Now, it is one of the glories of our faith, that it makes ample
provision for all the activities of life. Yet, under pretext of
being devout beyond the standard of ordinary men, there have been
some who fled to deserts, and dwelt in dens and caves of the earth.
Professing to seek a closer walk with God, or more ample scope for
the culture of the Christian graces, they have forsaken the duties
of life, and made themselves useless to society, as if indolence
were a virtue, or inactivity a fruit or a proof of true religion.

    THE MERCHANT PRINCES.

But any one who will merely glance at the Word of God, may see
that such opinions find no sanction there. Far from encouraging
inactivity, or exhorting us to forsake the post of duty, and retire
to loneliness and seclusion, that Word expressly prohibits such a
course. It tells us not to be slothful in business. It says that
what our hands find to do, we should do it with all our might. It
assures us that we must study to be quiet, and do our own business,
and work with our own hands. It adds, that if any man will not
work, neither shall he eat. It sets a brand upon those who "learn
to be idle, who wander about from house to house, not only idle, but
tattlers also." In short, religion, as it lies in the Bible, stands
at our side in the place of business, and says, "Be not slothful
here;" and adds, "It is the hand of the diligent which maketh rich."
--While we gaze on the merchant princes on the Exchange of London,
when some exciting rumour has arrived, some war been proclaimed or
threatened, or while some mercantile crash is impending, or some
millionaire bankruptcy just announced--we cannot but feel that if
men retain their religion amid these excitements, they are religious
according to the highest standard that earth can ever know. Not the
recluse, not the man whose life is idle, and whose duties are tame
and domestic, can display the loftiest style of Christianity; but
the man who holds fast his integrity amid the activities of life,
and embodies in his practice the scriptural injunction, "Be not
slothful in business."

    THE ENTHRONEMENT OF SELF.

True, this maxim is often more than obeyed; business absorbs,
business agitates, business ruins millions. Surrendering themselves
without a check to its engrossments, they are swallowed up by
overmuch care, and socially and religiously become wrecks, though
they may pile up gold in heaps. How many in this land are making
gold their god, and fine gold their confidence, we need not try to
tell. But to correct that tendency, the word of truth has commanded
our men of busy lives not merely to be active, but, moreover, to
be "serving the Lord" by their activity. It is not activity for the
sake of amassing wealth; it is not activity merely that we may stand
among the foremost in the market-place, or be able, as some have
been, to give laws to kings and empires, to make peace or to declare
war. That is not religion; it is the enthronement of self. We are
to serve the Lord even in our business. His will is to be our will
there, as much as when we are upon our knees before him. The objects
to which he points are to be pursued by us; and thus, amid the
scenes of busiest occupation, where much that is secular may tend
to disturb, or much that is sordid to debase, the man of activity is
also to be the man of piety and of Christian principle. Religion is
/not/ to be kept for set times and set occasions; it is not to be
left behind us when we leave our homes: nay, as the Lord is in every
place, the fear of him should everywhere preside.

    MAMMON.

When the Saviour said, "I pray not that thou wouldst take them out
of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil that
is in the world," he not merely uttered a prayer, but, moreover,
announced a rule for regulating duty; and they who have imbibed the
spirit of His words, understand the religion of Jesus--a religion
most exquisitely adapted to man on earth, a religion at once of
ever-doing activity, and of faithful serving the Lord amid it all.
There are, no doubt, snares and perils beyond what can be counted
to the souls of men, in the engrossments of business. In commerce,
through all its branches, as it appears in our land and day, there
is much to deaden the soul, much to eraze the very thought of God;
and hence Mammon is the only god of many. But the reason of that is,
not that business is essentially godless, but that men prefer God's
gifts to himself. Because he is forgotten, thousands are ensnared;
they are as completely entombed in worldliness, as the corpse that
was yesterday interred is entombed in the deep grave where it lies.

    PRINCIPLE.

On the one hand, then, some are diligent in their business; but they
forget to serve the Lord, and so their business becomes the grave
of the soul. On the other hand, some would serve Him; but they keep
that service apart from their business: they are as worldly there,
as selfish, as ready to grasp and to amass, as if responsibility
to God could be shut up in the Bible after a passage of it has
been formally perused. But the Christian merchant comes in between
these two. In the one hand he takes the clause, "Be not slothful in
business;" in the other he takes the words, "Serving the Lord." He
unites them in his life; that is, he takes religion from the Bible;
and instead of separating what God has joined--namely, diligence and
godliness--that man is perfectly convinced, because the Spirit of
God is his teacher, that success would be a curse, that thousands
added to thousands would only augment his woe, were he to leave
the will of God out of view in the place of public resort.

With this general truth before us, then, /if we be Christians
at all, we must be Christians everywhere/, let us consider some
Counsels tending to make us Christians, according to the standard
of the Bible. How may I assuredly retain my Christianity in the
Market-place, in the haunts of Commerce, or among its busy men? An
answer to that question may serve as a guide through what is, in
truth, a deep and dangerous morass.

    WICKEDNESS AND FOLLY, ONE.

    THE WOE OF THE WICKED.

And the first Counsel we would announce is this: /God is a party
in all our transactions in the Market-place/; we are either serving
him or sinning against him in all that we do. It is to be feared,
indeed, that many forget this simple truth amid their manifold
engrossments. They forget that the God of justice is a party in
men's unjust proceedings; that the God of truth is a witness to
all their falsehood; that He who cannot look on sin is present at
every act, detecting fraud and deceit wherever they appear. In very
emphatic language, men thus make the Holy One "serve with their
sins;" He supplies the power, the skill, the reason, which they
pervert into instruments of iniquity against him and fraud upon
their fellow-men. But shunning all this, it should be our rooted
maxim in the Market-place, and everywhere besides, that that Holy
One is a party in all that we do; he is either served or sinned
against. We cannot swerve from truth, we cannot violate justice,
we cannot let go our integrity, without forsaking Him. It should,
therefore, be as firmly rooted in our convictions as the most simple
moral truth, that whatever dishonours God cannot benefit us. It
should be written on the conscience as with a pen of iron upon a
rock, that the man who expects true success in violating the eternal
principles of right and wrong, is not merely wicked, but foolish.
The man who expects to prosper by "glossy fraud," has already
inflicted a sore degradation on his moral nature. Even though he
may be lifted up by wealth to sit among princes, he is, in the eyes
of God, a degraded and an outcast creature. He has sold his soul for
what must soon be wrung from his grasp. He has bowed down to an idol
as senseless, and as unable to bless him, as the stone god of the
Hindoo devotee. Though a world were in league to prove the contrary,
ungodly gain wraps up a curse in it; and the larger the pile, the
more deadly or crushing are its effects. Those were solemn words
which Eliphaz spoke to Job: "I saw him taking root, but I cursed
his habitation."[16]

Let God, then, be recognised as a party in all that is done. Be it
our maxim, in the market-place as well as on our knees: "Thou, God,
seest me;" and it will at once fortify and warn us. He who forgets
that simple principle in our busy day, is like one who casts the
pilot overboard when the tempest is rising.

The suggestion now offered would at once sweep away those petty
encroachments which pass in the world almost without rebuke, but
which are an offence to the Holy One. It seemed a small and venial
thing to Eve to do what she did, and to Adam to follow her example;
but that little thing dragged the world to ruin. And so before God,
offences deemed venial by man are seen in the defilement and the
hatefulness of sin. Hence the call to act under the divine eye
--to adopt the divine standard--to make God a party in all our
proceedings. His holiness, his justice and truth, should at once
repress the unprincipled and encourage the pure; and man would then
be made upright towards man by being made right with God.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    MAKING HASTE TO BE RICH.

But side by side with that, we must place a second Counsel, not less
needed than the other--Watch with care, /lest the engrossments of
business should so accumulate as to overlay and crush the godliness
of the soul/. Amid the pressure of times like ours, this is one of
the greatest perils of the market-place: it is destroying its tens
of thousands. Men eagerly plunge into speculation after speculation.
They try to extend, to ramify, and engross, till you might suppose
they have a home in city after city; nay, in kingdom after kingdom.
Not contented with the gains, the competency, or the honest rewards
of what they can easily overtake or personally control, many make
such haste to be rich, that an empire is too limited for their
plans. In their zeal, they embark in scheme after scheme; they wrap
themselves round with entanglement after entanglement, till, in some
cases, the ends of the earth are not too remote for their desires to
reach.

    TRUE ENTERPRISE:

Now, far be it from us to place restrictions where the only wise God
places none; far be it from us to limit enterprise, as if all should
be domestic, or run in the channels of home. It would be hindering,
not helping Christianity in the Market-place, to define and
circumscribe where its Author has not defined. The very sea--that
"highway of the nations" which surrounds our island--would rebuke
the attempt. Godliness is not to be confined in monasteries, or even
to the domestic circle; for if that were the case, then godliness
could not be designed for man as man. It would apply only to a
fragment of his nature, instead of diffusing the wisdom of Heaven
over it all. But if it be that godliness which is the result of
grace, and not that which is only a phase of monasticism, there
is not a scene, however homely, where it may not preside; nor an
enterprise, however grand, which it may not direct. It is only a
fragment of religion, or of the truth as it is in Jesus, which would
leave the counting-house, or any sphere, without heavenly direction.

    --ITS LIMITS.

The exhortation, "Be not slothful in business," then, opens a wide
door for active energy; and we make no attempt to shut it. But
still, there is only a certain length to which any man can proceed
without sinning, amid these engrossments and accumulated cares. Bear
witness families neglected--family altars thrown down--early hopes
blighted--early religion erazed from the soul--as speculations and
engagements increase. We have no right to laden ourselves with a
multitude of cares such as shall overlay, or supplant, or endanger
the truth of God in the heart. Every moment may be one of high-toned
integrity between man and man; every transaction may be presided
over by purest equity: in the market-place, a merchant prince might
blush to be even suspected of the mean, the fraudulent, or the
deceptive. But what if these moments and these transactions, so
pure in appearance, be so numerous or so engrossing, as to prevent
attention to the high concerns of eternity and the soul? What if
my mind and my body be so worn out or worn down by these protracted
hours of merchandise, that the things which belong to my eternal
peace are neglected, or pushed from their proper place, which is
/the first/? Am I not sinning against my soul and my God, by such
exhausting engrossments? O! how many are ruined--ruined not by
dishonesties in business, but by over-devotion to it! not by
defrauding a neighbour, but by defrauding their own soul alike
of all time and all taste for attending to the one thing needful!

    THE PERILS OF BUSINESS.

We plead, let it be remembered, for no inactivity, for there are
perils in idleness as well as amid the cares of business. If the
latter destroy by crushing, the former wastes by rusting. But
our urgency converges upon this point--men ought not so to plunge
into this world's engrossments--so to be entangled by this world's
cares--so to laden themselves with this world's clay--as to leave
neither liking, nor time, nor strength, for fervour of spirit in
serving the Lord--"Inasmuch as ye did it not unto me," will tarnish
the glory of all such doings. Every moment as it passes, in the life
of some busy men, may be a moment of high-souled integrity between
man and man; and yet there is danger, /lest all the moments summed
together/ should be one long act of complicated robbery--a robbery
of God, because he was forgotten--a robbery of the soul, because
it was neglected for things which often melt as we grasp them--a
robbery of those dependent on us for religious guidance and example,
because we are strangers at home, or, when we appear there, it is
rather as the careworn speculator or the hoarding miser, than as
the kindly, genial, sympathizing husband, father, brother, friend.

    THE PERILS OF BUSINESS.

We know that it is the golden maxim of some, that religion must give
way to business. We have been told by one who could stand unabashed
on the Exchange, that "/God did not expect us to be too strict in
these things/;" and swayed by that maxim, if religion do not give
way at the bidding of cupidity, its control is boldly disowned. Now,
we need not add, that the man who has adopted such an opinion has at
once dismissed the Word of God from his counsels, and consented to
forego the use of reason in the highest of all its spheres--he has
laid his soul, a manacled victim, on the altar of Mammon. That man
is not seeking /first/ the kingdom of God and his righteousness;
that is, he is deliberately setting aside one of the simplest,
plainest, and most unequivocal injunctions contained in the Word
of the Supreme.--It is well known that, among the ancient heathens,
the god of traffic was also the god of fraud. The Romans, moreover,
had a goddess of thieves, whom one of their poets thus addresses:--

          O fair Laverna, grant me power to cheat,
          And yet appear arrayed in saintly guise;
          Let sable night enshroud my deep deceit,
          And clouds conceal my fraud from prying eyes.[17]

--And is there no reason to fear that that spirit has been
perpetuated to modern times?

Now, in these remarks, we have just been enforcing a trite, but
profound maxim, "What is a man profited, though he could gain the
whole world, if he lose his own soul?" Surely men buy gold at too
high a price, when their immortal spirits are given in exchange for
it. Success in such a case is a terrible disaster, and far better
a mercantile crash than eternal ruin. To give ourselves up to the
devoted pursuit of the world, and to secure what we pursue, while
God and heaven are forsaken, is a calamity to be deplored through
all eternity. Better far the cross and the disappointment; better
far the shattered hope and the world's neglect, than to sit with
princes and to forfeit heaven--to rank among those whose gold cannot
be counted, and yet to be poor, and wretched, and miserable in the
high estimate of eternity--There is an animal which strikes the arm
with feebleness the moment it is touched. The muscles are benumbed,
the sense of feeling is for the time destroyed, and the affected
parts are as if they had been struck by lightning, and in a similar
way, do this world's cares benumb or stupify the soul. Its desire
for the good and the pure, and its power to enjoy them, are at once
destroyed by intense engrossment with the world's cares; and he who
has not felt and lamented the effects of such engrossment, should
beware, lest his want of feeling be the result of his want of life.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    THE PREVALENCE OF THE FALSE:

    INSTANCES.

As a Counsel which we believe to be pre-eminently needed, we observe
next, that the man of integrity and Christian principle, will, in
the Market-place, /comply with none of the conventional maxims of
business which are based upon the false/.--Were it our object to
enter into these things in detail, it would not be difficult to show
to what an amazing extent the false, the pretended, the deceptive,
now enter into the business of our commercial or mercantile
community. It must be enough to say, that the father of lies has
taken possession of ten thousand points in business, and often holds
them all at the expense of integrity and truth. Lies are spoken; lies
are acted; deceptions are practised; and conscience is all the while
prevented from lifting any effectual protest, by the fact that such
things are common. Even those channels of public opinion which do
not usually adopt the Scriptures of truth as their standard, confess
their amazement at the Jesuitical want of ingenuousness, or the
incredible amount of dishonesty, which signalizes even those who move
in the highest spheres. Descending, that spirit has taken possession
of other classes--it has actually come to pass, that he is deemed
simple who is upright, or punctilious who is honest. Nay more, in
defending this state of moral degeneracy, there are some who do not
scruple to quote the Word of the God of truth. "Be not righteous
overmuch," is a favourite passage with some, as if it gave any
countenance to him who seeks wealth by disreputable means--by calling
that all silk which he knows to be partly made of cotton, or that
genuine which he knows to be adulterated, or that perfect which he
knows to be defective.--Would that it were superfluous to dwell upon
such subjects--that we never had occasion to refer to them and to
the Church of God in the same breath! "/Serving the Lord/"--that
clause should banish for ever all such things from the practice and
the ways of men professing to be Christians, and if they are not
banished, we can picture nothing so likely to make religion an
offence, and a Christian profession a subject of scorn, to honest
worldly men.

Farther, we have been told that there are some in business who will
not credit those who make a profession of godliness. They deem that
profession a cloak, and they either tear it off or despise it. Now,
we reckon that, to a great extent, just a display of the worldly
man's hatred to the restraints and the sanctities of religion. He
knows that such a profession upon /his/ lips would be hypocrisy, and
he ignorantly deems it the same in others. Hence his contempt for a
religious profession--his distrust of all who make it. Yet, is there
no pretext afforded to that worldly man for the opinions which he
holds? If those professing religion are known to imitate examples,
or to adopt practices, and act upon maxims which religion repudiates
--if they be as grasping as those who make no such pretensions as
they do, are they not cheering on the ungodly in their unchristian
career? Are they not doing all that they can to assure the worldly
man that his views of religion are correct--that it is a pretence,
hypocrisy, and a name?

    THE BELIEVER'S OBLIGATIONS.

For these reasons, we return to say, that all compliance with
customs founded upon what is known to be false, should be shunned
in business by a man of God. All should be transparent as sunlight
with him. He should never forget, that to escape detection is very
different from being honest; and that the man who has committed
himself to some course opposed to what is pure, or lovely, or of
good report, must either trample conscience out, or endure its
gnawings, as fable says Prometheus endured the vulture. There /are/
temptations, we grant, in a state of society like ours, where gold
is not merely a standard of value in the market-place, but often
the standard of character among men. Withal, however, I am not
bound to be rich; but I /am/ bound not to bring an evil report upon
the Christian name. I am not bound to remain in a certain sphere,
and there draw a certain revenue; but I /am/ bound not to sin. I am
not bound to retain my position at the expense of conscience; but I
/am/ bound not to cheer on a covetous world to ruin by sharing its
ungodliness or smiling upon its falsehood. Nay, by the grace of God,
we are to hold fast our integrity. We are to say, "Get thee behind
me, Satan," to the most plausible pretext for sinning; and if there
be few among our merchant princes who act on such maxims--if they be
uncommon in the Market-place--that is because few go to the Word of
God for their standard of duty--few, with meekness and reverence to
the Holy One, combine in action these three clauses: "Not slothful
in business"--"Fervent in spirit"--"Serving the Lord." "One is your
master, even Christ." To him we are responsible in every relation;
and that responsibility is discharged only when we remember the
words: "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of
the Lord Jesus."

But we have only broken ground in regard to Christianity in the
Market-place.

    THE STANDARD.

It is a universal law, that every soul of man must have an object to
pursue. The ambitious man has his object: he pursues it; and if he
succeed in his pursuit, he sinks into the grave, crushed perhaps,
like Tarpeia of old, by the weight of his success. And the covetous
man has his object: he embarks his whole soul in the pursuit; and
while a thousand who strive with him fail or are beggared, he who
succeeds is perhaps the most signally wretched of them all. And the
lover of pleasure has his object of pursuit: he dismisses the fear
of God, and, like one who is ambitious of wretchedness, he drinks up
iniquity, though along with it he drinks up poison to his soul. In a
word, the fool and the wise man, the young and the old, the ignorant
and the learned, all have some master object to pursue. That object
may involve destruction, for it may be sinful; or it may tend to
dignify and ennoble, for it is pure and holy; but whatever be its
character, it is a law in man's nature, that, from the child amused
with its toy, up to the hoary patriarch tottering forward to the
grave, man must have something to fill and to engross his mind.

    THE BIBLE'S LIGHT.

Now, the Word of God, which is so exquisitely adapted to man, takes
that great law fully into account; and we advert to that again,
because it furnishes an opportunity for repeating, that that Word
does not repress man's activity--it only tries to give it a right
direction: it does not leave man without a pursuit--it only presents
him with one which is worthy of his immortal nature. Knowing that man
wishes to advance or to rise, the Bible puts a light into his hand,
and tells him to be the heir of God, a joint-heir with Christ.
Knowing that man seeks to accumulate and amass, the Bible tells
of unsearchable riches and treasures in heaven. Knowing that man's
strongest impulse is to seek his own happiness, the Bible perfectly
responds to that, and offers the very peace of God: it points to a
home of everlasting sunshine, without a tear, without one solitary
want. There is thus no attempt to suppress, but only to direct, man's
aspirations. Nothing that God gave to man is to be extinguished: all
is to be sanctified and sublimed.

    THE UNIVERSAL LAW.

To make this plain, we observe that all are familiar with the power
exercised over the soul by any new object or new pursuit. Begin with
the earlier years of infancy. See a little child engrossed with his
toy. His whole soul is absorbed by it; for a time it is his world.
But present him with some new object; the former is speedily
discarded, while the new engrosses the mind as the old had done. Or
pass onward from childhood to youth. There also you see the same law
prevailing. Mind is never left a blank. The old is discarded, but
it is for the sake of the new; and man thus flits from object to
object, the last being always the ascendant. Or pass upward to still
graver years, and there also the same law prevails. One pursuit,
one passion, one object of interest after another sways the heart,
alternately expelled and expelling from the soul. The love of God
in a converted soul supersedes the supreme love of the world. The
pleasures of godliness take the place of the pleasures of sin. The
power of the world to come overmasters the power of a present evil
world; and thus a wise and exquisite law guides us in religion--a
law as simple in its operation as that which keeps the planets in
their orbits.

    REASON AND RELIGION AT ONE.

Now, in accordance with that law, our next Counsel is, that the
Christian in the Market-place, should never forget that he is not
forbidden to seek earthly things /at all/; he is only forbidden to
seek them /first/. The Saviour just wished man to prefer what should
be preferred--to put eternity before time, and God before man, and
the soul before the body; and wherever men have escaped from the
control of blind passion, such a maxim must be approved for its
wisdom. To believe that there is both a God and a soul, and yet seek
some ephemeral thing before either or both, is surely to outrage
reason, as well as to turn aside from the plainest maxims of
religion. On the other hand, he who sets the Lord before him has
adopted a course which will more than realize the fable of Midas,
who turned all that he touched into gold.

And who can doubt that confidence placed or preference given
anywhere but to God, will blight and wither all at last? Who can
doubt that the accumulated thousands of many who name Christ's
name are their god? They seek happiness there. They find all their
enjoyment there. These thousands are their rock, their confidence,
and their high tower. They not merely seek them /first/, they seek
them exclusively. The portion of their heart is there as completely
as the confidence of the Hindoo upon Shiva, or of the Romanist upon
Mary. It is thus that God is dethroned, and thus that man's blossom
often goes up like the dust from the midst of his idolatrous
confidence.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    EQUIVOCATIONS.

But another maxim which should guide us in business, may be thus
expressed.--In the Market-place, /never forget what is due to your
Christian profession/. /We/ may forget it, but the world will not;
nay, we have seen how prompt men are to condemn us for our oblivion.
We may plunge into the world as other men do. Deceived by our own
hearts or by the hollow maxims which prevail around us, we may lose
sight of the distinction between the frauds of men and the truths of
God. But though we may forget to seek first the kingdom of God, the
world does not forget that we /profess/ to seek it first. Nay, it is
lynx-eyed to detect our pretences, and eager to point the finger of
scorn at our unmasked inconsistency if we be inconsistent. The world
feels that it needs some countenance in its oblivion of God; and it
is cheered, encouraged, or a little more at ease, when Christians
are oblivious like itself. As we have already seen, there are words
spoken, there are deeds done, in many departments of business, which
are unequivocally false--describe them to an unsophisticated little
child, and he will tell you at once "it is a lie." Yet it is well
known that gentle names are current for such forms of deception, as
well as for some of our household arrangements. Glozing pretexts are
employed to cover and conceal them, and the uneasy conscience, in
spite of common habit, is betrayed by the fetches which are thus
made. Even a worldly man's conscience would start, at least at
first, were such things distinctly called fraud, or over-reaching,
or a lie. Palliating epithets are therefore thrown over them, like
gaudy trappings upon a coffin; and, then, as if a gentle name could
conceal an unprincipled thing, men barter for gain the concerns of
the kingdom of God. They often value that kingdom at less than Judas
did, when he sold its King for thirty pieces of silver.

    CONSISTENCY.

Now, all who would be Christians in the Market-place should dismiss
and frown down such practices. Remembering what is due to our
Christian profession, they should beware lest a stumbling-block be
laid in the way of those who watch for a believer's halting, and are
happy when he falls. The progress of missionaries in foreign lands
is often impeded by the ungodliness of men called Christians; and
care should be taken lest similar impediments exist at home. Let no
man say that his conversation is in heaven, while he is manifestly
grovelling in the dust. Far rather disown the holy name, than drag it
down into the fearful pit and the miry clay. Be it remembered again,
we do not plead for inactivity; we would limit no enterprise which
pure religion sanctions. But neither would we forget for a breath,
that the man who names Christ's name must adopt Christ's holy maxims,
or that man is at once deceiving the world and betraying the truth
of God. Unjustly to benefit ourselves at the expense of another, is
to prove that we have not yet learned God's holy law, and still less
the Saviour's pure and perfect gospel. The world-side of our religion
should therefore be watched with the utmost care; and, amid our daily
doings in the market-place, it should often be our thought, /I am a
Christian/, and cannot act upon the world's unholy maxims. /I am a
Christian/, and must love my neighbour as myself; I must do to others
as I wish others to do to me. /I am a Christian/, and can smile no
connivance upon that which nailed my Redeemer to a tree. No matter
though the transgression be small; a small sin ruined the world. No
matter though it be common; so is eternal ruin. No matter though men
reckoned upright do it; their uprightness is a pretence before Him
who looks on the heart; and it is because few act upon these plain,
decided maxims, that Christ's people are still but a little flock
compared with the teeming myriads of world-adoring men.

    THE CHRISTIAN.

And the same maxim should guide us in all respects as well as in
regard to gain. Am I one of the merchant princes whose ample stores
are crowded with youth dependent on me for bread, and helping to
enrich me by their industry or skill? Then I am to remember my duty
to ward off, as far as is in my power, all that would corrupt or
debase them. Not merely a regard to my own interests, but a regard
to the souls of those to whom I stand related, should constrain me
to this; and if one among these crowds be dishonest or disreputable,
I am to take care that his contagion do not spread; that neither
my property on the one hand, nor the souls of my dependants on the
other, suffer at his hands. I may be deceived, but I dare not connive
at deception. To raise the moral tone, I must give time for personal
culture and for the training of principle. I must myself set the
example. I must countenance and encourage it. Instead of grinding the
faces of the dependent, I am to do them good in the highest sense of
all. Instead of amassing wealth by the sacrifice of consciences and
souls, I am to honour all men.--The man who acts thus is a benefactor
to society: he is elevating his fellow-mortals: he is blessed, and
made a blessing.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    THE CONSECRATION OF GAIN.

/Consecrate all your gains to God/--is another maxim enforced by
Christianity in the Market-place. The silver and the gold are his.
His is the power which enables us to collect them, and they are all
to be laid, along with ourselves, upon his altar. The wisest man our
world ever saw said, "Honour the Lord with thy substance."

Now, this suggestion touches one of the topics which stand most in
need of enforcement in an age and a community like ours.--It were
needless to tarry to tell how the sin of covetousness is eating into
the hearts of men, how greedily they run after gain, and make haste
to be rich. The wrestler's arena, or the racer's circus of old,
never was crowded with more eager or more panting competitors than
our marts of merchandise now. Nor need we pause to tell again what
degrading disclosures are made, from time to time, and that in the
highest spheres, regarding the withering effects of this headlong
pursuit. In cases not a few, our boasted mercantile honour, and our
integrity as a nation of merchants, have been proved, with painful
plainness, to be as weak to restrain man's passion for gold as a
thread of gossamer to bind a ravening lion.

    THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA.

Such exposures, then, and such scenes, are well fitted to warn us to
consecrate all we have to God, both in the getting and the using. If
the riches of the world have the image and superscription of Cæsar,
the Christian's should bear the stamp of the King of kings. There is
no scriptural anathema against riches--nay, every gift of God is good
in itself; but there are countless anathemas against riches acquired
by fraud, or spent without seeking the direction or the blessing
of God. The Christian in the Market-place is thus taught to use the
world as not abusing it, or not to grasp at what may bite like a
serpent and sting like an adder. He thus learns to verify what was
said of Tyre of old, "Her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness
to the Lord; it shall not be treasured nor laid up." While many never
think of God--for one solemn thought of him would dash all their
schemes; while self is the centre, the alpha and the omega, the first
and the last, of many an adventurer, the Christian will try to gather
wealth as his God directs, in channels which his God can bless.

    A SCRIPTURAL CONTRAST.

We repeat it; we are permitted to use the world; for there is
nothing unnatural, or extreme, or ascetic in the Word of God. We are
permitted to /use/ the world; but it is only upon the condition that
we do not abuse it; and surely he abuses it who defers to the world
more than to God; who adopts the world's maxims, and discards God's;
who grasps the world's riches, but is poor toward God; who trembles
at the world's frown, but mocks the majesty, the truth, and the
justice of God. O, never let the Christian fear to be resolutely
honest--his God will provide. He should be encouraged by thinking
that, amid all our moral distemper, the world /is/ under the control
of a king who will make his laws respected. Baffled we may sometimes
be in the world's headlong career; but it is well, it is /best/,
that we should be so. He who sees the end from the beginning, and
who brings order out of confusion, is doing all things well. He
says: "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself
like a green bay-tree: Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not; yea,
I sought him, but he could not be found." That is one side of the
picture: the other is, "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright;
for the end of that man is peace."

And who has not seen this verified? Men whose hearts the Lord has
opened, so that they gave their silver and their gold in thousands,
tell us that the more they give, when it is to the Lord, the more are
they blessed. That is, "they cast their bread upon the waters, and
find it after many days." "They honour the Lord with their substance,
and their barns are filled with plenty." "They scatter, and yet
increase." "The liberal soul is made rich." "They lend unto the
Lord," and receive it back with usury.

    FINANCIAL CRISES.

On the other hand, from time to time the Mighty One protests, in
his providence, against the headlong and unprincipled pursuit of
wealth. What are our financial crises, our commercial crashes, our
bankruptcies in stunning succession and surprising amount, what
our unemployed labourers, what our beggared merchants, but just a
providential corrective to our cupidity? These things occur almost
with the precision of system. They can be predicted like an eclipse;
their causes are seen and read of all men; and yet, unwarned and
untaught, they make haste to be rich, till airy structures and
nominal treasures melt away into air, leaving only poverty, perhaps
shame and disgrace, as their residuum. The God who has, with a
wisdom as unvarying as it is profound, made sin self-corrective,
thus vindicates his own laws. Were his Sabbaths observed, our
production would be less, and stagnation prevented. Were our
merchandise holiness to the Lord, our periodical gluts would be
prevented by wiser measures than now prevail. Godliness would
thus be great gain. The widow's cruse and barrel would be a better
portion, because blessed by God, than the riches which, ever on the
wing, are ever fluttering for their flight.[18]

    ABRAHAM AND LOT.

It is thus, then, that God over all proves, to our sad experience,
that we forsake our own mercies by forgetting Him in the Market-place
--but take an example. Abraham and Lot his nephew, are in their tents
near Bethel. A strife arises between their herdsmen, because the
grazing grounds were not sufficiently ample for the herds and flocks
of both. But Abraham, the man of peace, disliked contention; and
though he was the elder, he gave the younger his choice of the
country, that they might separate without strife. With primitive
simplicity, but also with true greatness of soul, he said, "If thou
wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou
depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left."

Lot accordingly chose. Captivated by the rich pastures of the valley
of the Jordan, he selected them. His eye was fixed only on what was
good for his herds; it was Eastern wealth, in short, which attracted
the nephew of Abraham. He did not think of the character of those
who dwelt where he was to dwell; and in his hot pursuit of riches,
he fared exactly as those who do as he did are faring still. The
inhabitants of that garden-like valley were "wicked exceedingly," but
Lot threw himself among them without forethought, and as the result,
his righteous soul was vexed from day to day. Their "grievous sins"
harassed him; and if we may judge from his own conduct, he did not
escape contamination. He had at last to haste and flee for his life,
lest he should perish in the common overthrow.

    EVIL COMMUNICATIONS.

And when was it otherwise? Who ever tasted, touched, or handled what
pollutes, and yet continued pure? Who ever threw in their lot with
godless men, without incurring the risk of sharing their doom? Do
not worldly engrossments steal the heart from God? When we have goods
laid up for many days, is it not our instant thought, unless a double
portion of grace be sought, that we are less dependent now on the
Author of every good and perfect gift? The soul thus withers and
pines; and if a child of God escape, it is as Lot did from Sodom--"so
as by fire." Just as a dislocated limb gives pain to the body, or
just as one member wrenched by violence from the rest makes the whole
physical frame quake and quiver, the dislocation of a single precept
of God does violence to our moral nature. It has been often noticed
that the men who are deprived, by whatsoever cause, of the Sabbath
rest, soon become the most degraded in a community, they have
perished sometimes by their own right hand; and the remark may be
generalized so as to include all the laws among the Ten. The man
who runs greedily after gain and forgets to consecrate it to God, is
thereby self-degraded, and self-ruined in the end.

    COUNSELS.

But perhaps all that we have argued might have been more briefly and
more emphatically urged in a few words: "They first gave themselves
to the Lord."[19] That is the true order of procedure on the part of
Christian men, and that is the certain prelude to heavenly guidance.
All that we have will be dedicated to the Great Proprietor, if we
have first learned, as the Spirit teaches, to "present our bodies a
living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God."

                  *       *       *       *       *

    THE ONLY RULE.

Were it our object to exhaust this subject, instead of merely
offering some general counsels, we should now proceed to other
aspects of the Christian in the Market-place--that place where
temptations are so rife, because the world's current is at the
strongest. We might refer to the necessity of excluding the
engrossments of the Market-place from our hours of relaxation or
our home duties, and press such examples as that of Him who left
it as a counsel to others, that, they should leave all thoughts of
business in their counting-house on Saturday, till their return on
Monday.--But enough has been said for our purpose. And now, let it
not be forgotten that all we plead for has been actually done in the
Market-place by not a few. We urge nothing Utopian, nothing beyond
what is written in the Word of God. A man can be both a student of
the Bible, so as to regulate his business by its maxims, and yet
prosper, as far as any Christian can care for prosperity; and that
is proved by many examples. If a man, indeed, supposes that his life
consists in the abundance that he has, or that the kingdom of God is
meat and drink, then the Bible will be discarded; another god than
it[*8] will be worshipped. But if it be the rooted conviction of a
soul, that it can be rich only in so far as it enjoys the blessing of
Jehovah, His word will be found at once a pleasant and a profitable
guide. And even though poverty may assail us for abiding by God's
simple truth, we must still abide by it. Man lives not by bread
alone, but by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God; and
though that maxim may provoke a smile from the devotees of the world,
it is the maxim of eternal wisdom notwithstanding. Some whose life
was spent in the place of business, of care and speculation, have
left it upon record, that such a maxim is the only remedy for the
woes of a groaning world.

We know that men cannot live upon their knees, especially in the
market-place; but we also know that, in the most crowded mart, the
way to the throne is open, if we have acquired a taste for walking
in it. Have we not found some, and these among the busiest of men,
who knew how to retreat into the secret place of the Most High's
pavilion, so as there to feel the truth of his promise, "My people
shall dwell in quiet resting-places and peaceable habitations?" Have
they not found a recess for communion with God, where no eye saw,
and no ear heard, but his? If there be first a willing mind, a way
to the throne will be found, even in the Market-place, and they who
find it are blessed.

    THE POWER OF GRACE.

Amid all this, we do not forget the difficulties of a merchant's
sphere, in an age so bent upon amassing as ours. We are not
unfamiliar with his anxieties, his cares, and crosses--crosses
which often come upon him mainly because he would set the Lord
before him. But just the more on that account, and surely not the
less, do we urge him to carry the Lamp of Life. On the one hand, if
these anxieties and cares drive us from our steadfastness, and if
God be left out of sight, will that diminish our cares? On the other
hand, if we hold fast our integrity, is it to be feared that we shall
be put to shame at last? Nay, all that we plead for /has been done/:
the grace of God can accomplish it, and more. There have been men
surrounded with many cares, who yet served the Lord amid them all.
They found that Christianity in the Market-place is as much provided
for, as Christianity in the place where prayer is wont to be
made. All that was needed was to seek the God and the grace of
Christianity; they sought Him, and they triumphed. Cheered by the
words, "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled
their garments," they held fast their integrity as drowning men cling
to the cable which is cast for their rescue; and in holding it fast,
they secured the heritage which the gold of Ophir could not buy.

    STEADFASTNESS.

It will readily be believed that, in a nation signalized like ours by
commercial enterprise and mercantile activity, some have been found
among our merchant princes whose proceedings have been presided over
by purest Christian principle. If multitudes have sacrificed rather
to Mammon than to the Holy One and the Just, some, on the other
hand, have held fast their integrity, and sought to keep themselves
"unspotted from the world."--Among those who belong to the class
who have thus exemplified the loftiest Christian principle in the
Market-place, there are few whose name and memorial stand higher
among men than the late Joseph Hardcastle of London. Early impressed
with religion in its living and energetic form, he made it his guide
and close companion through life. The Scriptures were to him the
supreme and sovereign standard. He was led by their light to the
Saviour of the lost, and, constrained by his love, he rejoiced
in every opportunity for promoting His cause and glory. A life
of dependence on his Redeemer was only another name for personal
holiness; and to personal holiness he added abilities of a superior
order, which appeared at once in the world-wide business which he
conducted as a merchant, and the efforts of a directly religious
nature which he put forth. Among the objects to which Hardcastle
was devoted, the London Missionary Society was perhaps the chief. In
the capacity of its treasurer, he laboured for many years with zeal
in the service of Him who has the heathen for his heritage. To the
duties of that office he brought the same sagacity and soundness
of view, the same unbending uprightness and lofty integrity, which
signalized him as a member of the greatest mercantile community in
the world. Even amid the contentions of debate, Hardcastle was calm
and gentle: his Christianized nature raised him above the influences
of those shocks which ruffle and discompose more common minds;
and though nothing could ever sway him to act against truth and
principle, his mildness and benignity rendered him the friend of all.

    JOSEPH HARDCASTLE.

But not merely were Hardcastle's time and energies thus largely
devoted to the Saviour's cause. His ample liberalities from year to
year, "entitled him to the rank of the first pecuniary benefactor
of the London Missionary Society." In short, faith unfeigned was
the basis of what he did, whether in the Market-place or amid scenes
whose duties appear to some to be incompatible with the assiduities
of business. With commercial relations which touched the ends of
the earth, Hardcastle spread his influence for good as widely as his
merchandise. He proved by his example that it is possible to be at
once active in business, and serving the Lord; and our commercial
enterprise[*9] would rest upon a more solid basis, or be more richly
fraught with blessings, were that godliness which is the only solid
foundation of true dignity and /completeness/ of character cultivated
by all, as it was by Joseph Hardcastle.

    THE DYING BELIEVER.

But his own history was spoken, and his principles were described
by himself, in some of the last sentences which he ever uttered.
To illustrate these, the following selections may suffice:--

"Lord Jesus, thou hast said, 'He that believeth in me shall never
die; and he that believeth, though he were dead, yet shall he live.'
I believe this; I believe I shall never know what death is, but pass
into life."--This is the triumph of faith.

"Thou hast said, 'Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.'
I come to thee; thou wilt not cast me out."--This is God honoured,
and man made happy.

"Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life,
and I am going to dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. I am
infinitely indebted to him for his conduct of me from infancy to
the end of my life. He took me by the hand in a wonderful manner,
and brought me into connection with the excellent of the earth. Most
gracious God, I commit my children to thee, and I charge them to
walk in thy fear and love."--This is the death of the righteous.

"He has drawn me with the cords of mercy from my earliest days. He
gave me very early impressions of religion, and enabled me to devote
myself to him in early life; and this God is my God for ever and
ever--for ever and ever. I said to him when I was a young man, 'Thou
shalt guide me by thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.'
'Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth whom
I desire besides thee.'"

    THE DYING PARENT.

"No principle can enter the mind so sublime as the doctrine of the
cross, which, with infinite majesty, speaks peace in heaven, on
earth, and throughout the universe. Let every one of my children
glory in the cross of salvation--it is the power of God to every one
that believeth. The /power/ of God; what feeble ideas do I attach to
such expressions!"

"I am, in some respects, like the old patriarch Jacob, on his dying
bed, with all his sons about him. Live in love, and the God of
love will be with you. This is my last farewell; this is our last
interview till we meet in a better world. My flesh and heart are
failing. I hope I have not been deceiving myself. My children
seek for an interest in Christ--seek for an interest in Christ. I
earnestly exhort you to be decided, and to be very useful. He is
your best friend: manifest your regard for him to the world; avow
your attachment; be not ashamed of him; he is the glory and the
ornament of the universe."

"I hope I shall be favoured, when my spirit is departing, with
some intimations of approaching glory. I will trust in him--I will
trust in him. In the meantime, I possess a sweet peace, calm and
undisturbed. I will go to God, my exceeding joy, as the psalmist
says. It is an awful thing for a human spirit, deeply depraved as
it is, to appear before the tribunal of so mighty a Being. He placeth
no trust in his servants; the heavens are not clean in his sight."

"If I am to live,[20] I welcome life, and thank its Giver; if I am to
die, I welcome death, and thank its Conqueror. If I have a choice, I
would rather depart and be with Christ, which is far better."

"My last act of faith I wish to be to take the work of Jesus, as
the high priest did when he entered within the vail; and when I have
passed the vail, to appear with it before the throne."

"I have just finished my course; I hope also I may say, 'I have
fought the good fight, I have kept the faith; and henceforth there
is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the
righteous Judge, will give me at that day.'"

"Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. Lord Jesus, receive my
spirit when it leaves the body: thou hast redeemed it--I have waited
for thy salvation."

    ALMIGHTY GRACE.

--There /is/ much in the life of men whose home is chiefly in the
Market-place, to deaden and secularize their spirits; but examples
like that of Hardcastle tell that grace is almighty even there--even
there, were men to honour God, he would honour them. It would be made
manifest to all, that even the life of a merchant prince may be spent
in the ways of God, and conduct to his eternal home.



                              CHAPTER V.

               RELIGION IN THE MARKET-PLACE CONTINUED.


Enough has been said to show that there is no incongruity between
the religion of Jesus and the most comprehensive enterprise, if that
enterprise be characterised by wisdom, as well as extent. The Bible
may reign in the counting-house, as well as in the church; nay, where
its power is felt at all, its most signal triumphs are not found amid
the scenes where only the Omniscient is our witness, but amid those
public proceedings where dangler is rife, because the current of the
world sets in against the soul at once with the greatest rapidity
and the greatest volume. By example after example, it is proved, both
in the Word and the providence of God, that His truth embodies the
religion of activity. One man, for example, is raised up to take
possession of the promised land. He has seven nations to conquer,
as well as a numerous people to guide, and amid the manifold
engrossments of that position, how is Joshua employed? Had he adopted
the maxims merely of the world, he would have drawn the sword, he
would have thrown away the scabbard, and in the common language of
mortal boasting, he would have determined to conquer or die. But the
first sword which Joshua drew was the sword of the Spirit, which is
the Word of God. The verse which directed his steps was this, "Thou
shalt meditate on this book day and night ... for then thou shalt
make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." That
was the secret of Joshua's victories--amid the cares of a camp, he
had his God to guide him.

    JOSHUA--DAVID.

And the man after God's own heart acted in the same spirit. Monarch
as he was, and compassed about with all the cares of a kingdom, David
made the Word of God a lamp to his path. He could picture no greater
self-deception than to suppose that man can find a better guide in
difficulty than God--a better Counsellor in doubt--a better Defence
in danger. He could not even invent a more flagrant kind of folly
than to set aside the wisdom of God, and prefer the wisdom of man;
to adopt some human device for remedying man's ills, for soothing
man's sorrows or lifting him from his degradation, while we despise
the sovereign specific of the eternal God. The climax of all that
is irrational is found in superseding God's revealed will, and
substituting for it the opinions, the speculations, the dreams of
mortal man. David, therefore, placed the Word of God upon his throne
beside him. Guided by it, the king was steadfast and unmoveable:
Forsaking it, he became one of the chief of sinners; he sullied one
of the fairest names.

    LUTHER.

Or turning from inspired men, to those who had to spread the sacred
page before them, and pray to God to shed light upon it, we may
glance at the man whom God raised up, about three hundred years
ago, to emancipate a large portion of Europe from Popery, that dark
superstition which ever crushes man to the dust. Luther stands alone
before the crowned, the mitred, and the lordly. A bigoted emperor
holds that solitary man's life in his hand; and had he doomed him to
die upon the spot, millions would have rushed to applaud him for the
deed. "Recant," that is, deny the Word of God, was in substance the
demand made from Luther; and was the demand conceded? Nay; the Bible
was to him something better than a collection of syllables and words.
The Spirit had made it a power, a life, a soul to that man's soul;
and, "I cannot recant, so help me God," was in substance his reply
to the crowned, and the lordly before him.

But there is a glare and a grandeur about cases such as these, which
may dazzle yet more than instruct. Let us pass then to a different
scene, and seek some abode of poverty. We are, perhaps, afraid to
enter, so repulsive, or unpleasing is all that meets the eye. In that
rude home, which every wind of heaven can penetrate, we find a dying
one. Perhaps for a quarter of a century, she has been the inmate
of that abode; for all that time, she may have had no hand but the
hand of God, and of charity, to feed her. What, then, is it that has
sustained her spirit, amid trials which we almost shudder to see?
She has lived, and is now preparing to die, upon the Word of her God.
She is strong in the strength which it supplies, and the home which
looks so cheerless to others, has been to her a home of hymns and of
rejoicing. The God of the Bible has made her glad in the house of her
pilgrimage by means of his Word. She has learned to regard it as God
himself does; and it is visibly magnified in the effects which it
thus produces in souls by nature weak, wavering, and ungodly.

But we have not nearly exhausted the illustrations of the power of
truth in the Market-place. We have looked at some proofs of its power
where it is honoured and obeyed: let us now glance at some of the
results of neglecting it. If some men are of opinion that their main
business upon earth is to "buy and sell, and get gain;" the Holy
One has, on the other hand, made it plain that there is another God
besides "the Mammon of unrighteousness."

    MERCANTILE MANIA.

We have referred to the crashes, and the failures, the gluts and
stagnations which occur in trade, with a periodicity which can almost
be calculated--they can at least be easily foreseen as they approach.
The adventurous "traffickers," are sometimes seized with a mania
which turns the counting-house into a gambler's den, involving
results and disasters from which the most judicious can with
difficulty escape; so powerful is the current, so ingulfing the
suction. Let us glance at some of these seasons.

    THE TULIP MARTS OF HOLLAND.

And the first which we mention is, the mania for dealing in Tulips,
which engrossed even so calm and sedate a people as the Dutch, about
two centuries ago. It began about the year 1634, and, like a violent
epidemic, it seized upon all classes of the community, leading
to disasters and misery such as the records of commerce, or of
bankruptcies, can scarcely parallel. In their "haste to be rich,"
one of the most temperate and self-possessed of all the nations
of Europe rushed upon a ruin which affected thousands, and plunged
multitudes into penury for life. In the year 1636, Tulip Marts had
been established at Amsterdam, at Rotterdam, Haarlem, Leyden, and
other towns in Holland.[21] As happens in all gambling transactions
many were speedily enriched. Their fortunes, it has been said, rose
like exhalations from the earth, but in many cases they vanished
as speedily. Nobles, citizens, farmers, mechanics, seamen, footmen,
maid-servants, even chimney sweeps--all caught the fever for tulips
and gold. Houses and lands were either sold for what they would
bring in the market, or pledged, and bartered, that men might
get possession of the coveted bulb or blossom. Amid these things,
the prices of food, and other necessaries of life, rose to an
unprecedented extent; and so complex, so ramified and pervasive did
the tulip trade become, that special laws were passed to regulate it;
special functionaries were appointed to direct it; in a word, amid
the activities of Holland, then perhaps the foremost nation in the
commercial world, a frail, ephemeral flower became literally the
representative of man's wealth, or the object on which the hearts
of thousands doated.

    THE SHADOW GRASPED.

Nor were these negotiations confined to the great central emporiums.
Every village had its market-place for tulips; festive meetings were
held when sales were effected; and the universal favourite--a tulip,
was the constant decorator of such festivities. The learned and the
ignorant, the cautious and the eager, men of all classes and all
temperaments, were infected; it seemed as if the commerce of the
world were henceforth to run in one exclusive channel--the sale and
the purchase of tulips. The eagerness with which men embarked in
these wild speculations may be best explained by a statement of
simple facts.[22] Property to the value of 100,000 florins[23] was
invested in the purchase of a few roots. One kind of tulip, the
/Admiral Leifken/, was reckoned worth 4,400 florins. A /Semper
Augustus/ was deemed cheap, if purchased for 5,500 florins. At one
period there were only two roots of that rare species in Holland;
and so intense was the passion to possess them, that a merchant
offered twelve acres of building lots for one of them, which was at
Haarlem, while its neighbour of Amsterdam was purchased for 4,600
florins, a carriage, a span of grey horses,[24] and a complete suit
of harness. A /Viceroy/ was worth 3000 florins. An /Admiral Vonder
Eyk/ was rated at 1,260 florins; and the whole were sold by weight
as carefully as jewel merchants weigh the diamond. But to name no
more, there was a single root which cost two lasts[*10] of wheat, and
four of rye; four fat oxen, eight fat swine, and twelve fat sheep;
two hogsheads of wine, and four tuns of beer; two tons of butter,
one thousand pounds of cheese, a complete bed, a suit of clothes,
and a silver drinking cup, valued in all at 2,560 florins.

Such is a glimpse of the tulip mania--such the effect of man's
extraordinary haste to be rich--such the condition into which men
proverbial for their sobriety of judgment were precipitated, when
they pushed their speculations beyond their legitimate channels.

    THE SUBSTANCE THROWN AWAY.

And what was the result? How did a passion so extraordinary affect
those who had been impelled by its power? The bubble burst at length,
and though a fierce tornado had swept over Holland, the devastation
could scarcely have been more complete. The hopes which had been
so unnaturally inflated began to collapse. Panic seized upon the
speculators, and bankruptcy followed panic, as rapidly as the house
which is built of cards is demolished by a blow. It soon appeared
that tulips were neither gold, nor houses, nor lands; neither bread
for the hungry, nor clothing for the naked, nor a home for the
friendless; and the worthlessness of the flower in itself, became the
emblem of the delusions which it had fostered. Every town in Holland
felt the blow. Multitudes were precipitated into poverty, at least,
their only possessions consisted in a few bulbs--the representations
at once of the speculator's thoughtlessness and his woe. The result
of the folly was now manifest, and the madness of what was nothing
but gambling, showed its bitter fruits. Merchants and their families
who had lived all their lives in independence and luxury, were
reduced to beggary by this mania for gold.

    THE ONLY SAFE GUIDE.

Amid these calamities, the help of man was found to be signally
vain, and those who had forgotten to take the Bible into the
Counting-house, and the Market-place, were left to reap as they
had sowed. Every effort was made to arrest the tide of ruin. Law was
appealed to. The governing power of the nation was addressed, but
all in vain. The gourd had withered, the refuge of lies had fallen,
and not a few were buried in the ruins. The trade of Holland was
prostrated for a time, and some of its merchant princes never
recovered from the shock.

    THE REAL SOURCE OF WEALTH.

It was by such a mercantile crash, then, that He who rules among
the nations protested against the folly, or the sin of such gambling.
It was proved, upon a national scale, that men cannot trample
on the wisdom which comes from above, and prosper; and over the
whole transaction, the eye of faith can read many a text inscribed
in letters of light, we learn how much Commerce would be aided
throughout her extensive empire, were her measures regulated by the
mind, and directed to the objects of God. "He that makes haste to be
rich shall not be innocent." "Trust not in uncertain riches, but in
the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." "Ye shall
do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, and in
measure." "By humility and the fear of the Lord, are riches, and
honour, and life." "Let your conversation be without covetousness,
and be content with such things as ye have; for He hath said, 'I will
never leave thee nor forsake thee.'"--These and many other passages
of the Word, proclaim the folly of extinguishing the lamp, and yet
hoping to walk in the light. He who shall really prosper in such
a path, will be the first in all the world's history; but his
prosperity will rest upon the ruins of truth, and justice--of all
that is pure, and lovely, and of good report.

    THE MISSISSIPPI SCHEME.

But this appears after all, to have been a mere hallucination. It
may be reckoned the dictate of capricious fashion, rather than a
manifestation of the true mercantile spirit. Let us turn, then, to
another illustration, and we find it ready in the Mississippi Scheme
of France, which was begun in 1716, and continued till 1723. Of all
the wild speculations which have first duped and then ruined men,
this ranks among the foremost. It was projected by a man who spent an
ample fortune by his prodigality, and then adopted a gambler's life,
the last resort of many a fallen spirit. He first ruined a young
English lady and then slew her brother in a duel, for which he was
obliged to flee from his native country. Amsterdam, Venice, and
Genoa, became in succession his asylum. From each of these, however,
he was banished as a dangerous adventurer; and after fourteen years
of friendless wandering, he at last secured the patronage of the
Duke of Orleans, while Regent of France, about the year 1716.

Such was the unprincipled and profligate man employed to launch the
Mississippi Scheme. He began his career in Paris by establishing a
bank, which aided in restoring the drooping commerce of France to
some measure of activity. Success in one enterprise[*11] prepared the
way for another, and Law devised the scheme which has given such bad
notoriety to his name, and was the occasion of a ruin so wide-spread
that only Omniscience knows it. A French colony at the mouth of the
Mississippi occupied lands which were supposed to teem with gold;
and, on that supposition, men who knew of no better riches than
those of earth, rushed into a wild and visionary scheme. The Regent
sanctioned the undertaking, and notes were issued to the amount of
one thousand millions of livres.[25] One hundred and twenty /per
cent./ of profit were promised upon all investments; and the
baseless proposal so captivated men who were willingly fascinated,
that at least three hundred thousand applications were made for fifty
thousand shares. The titled, from the right hand of royalty downward,
engaged in the scramble; and their equipages blocked up the streets
from day to day, as they waited in feverish anxiety to know the
result of their application for a chance of sharing in the fabulous
wealth.--It is known that when one maniac has committed suicide in
any particular way--for example, by precipitation from the summit of
a tower--others morbidly follow his example; and one is irresistibly
reminded of that development of mania while tracing the history of
the Mississippi Scheme.

    THE POWER OF PASSION.

But, after all, it was still only in its infancy. The Regent created
three hundred thousand additional shares;[26] and so grasping were
even the coroneted gamblers of Paris, that three times that number
would have been purchased had the scheme been extended so far. The
pressure for shares became so great, that a number of persons were
crushed to death in the crowd. Property suddenly rose in value, till
it was worth twelve or fifteen times as much as it had been a brief
period before; and so unwearied were these devotees of Mammon, that
the streets had to be cleared at night by the soldiery. For a time,
even the gaieties of Paris were suspended; and all the energies, the
earnestness, and ardour of its people, were turned into one absorbing
channel--the passion for gold lying buried, they believed, in the
lands around the mouth of the Mississippi!

    CORONETED GAMBLERS.

So ceaseless was the murmur of these speculators, and so loud, that
the Chancellor of Paris, whose court was in the neighbourhood of
the bank, could not hear the advocates as they pled. About five
hundred pavilions were in consequence erected at some distance, for
conducting the business. The ingulfing tide rolled on. Peers and
peeresses continued among the suitors for Mississippi stock, and
sometimes stood for six hours in succession, waiting for an interview
with an agent. In truth, all classes were seized with a mania similar
to that which reigns paramount in the mind of a gambler, and which
often goads him on to ruin. Amid the excitement, society became more
and more distempered. The ignoble, who had become suddenly rich,
purchased alliances with the titled. Robberies and murders took
place, and a Count D'Horn was tried and condemned to be broken
on the wheel for one of these deeds of blood. Such was the influx
of strangers into Paris, that houses could not be found for
their accommodation. Tents and stables were transmuted into
dwelling-houses, and an artificial prosperity was produced, which
quadrupled the cost of some articles. In a word, it appeared that
Louis XIV. had been succeeded by Midas, a prince who turned all
that he touched into gold.

    THE REACTION.

But this bubble also burst. The scheme was too baseless, and the
prosperity too artificial to last; and again it was seen in one of
the greatest nations of the earth, that "he who makes haste to be
rich shall not be innocent," as he certainly is not safe. To all the
golden visions of France there succeeded a period of confusion, of
bankruptcies, of beggary and ruin, deep and piteous in proportion as
the excitement had been high. Those who were trembling on the verge
of ruin, or actually precipitated into it, surrounded the palace of
the Regent, and holding up the worthless bills of Law, which were now
all the property they possessed, exclaimed against the injustice with
the vehemence of beggared men. The projector of the scheme was exiled
to Pontoise. A few realized wealth by the speculation, but it is
computed that millions were utterly beggared: many "laid violent
hands upon themselves, and sought a doubtful refuge in the grave."

And thus, by another providence, did the only wise God protest
against the burning passion for gold which had eaten into the souls
of multitudes. Men

                   "Abrogate as roundly as they may,
                The total ordinance and will of God,"

but in spite of their attempts, he accomplishes all his purposes, and
all his pleasure stands. He who loves silver shall not be satisfied
with it. He who says to the fine gold, "Be thou my confidence,"
sooner or later finds that he has pierced himself through with
many sorrows. Wherever the will of God is violated by nations or
by individuals, a day of retribution comes, as surely as rivers
which have burst their banks carry devastation wherever they rush.

It is well known that the channel of the Po, as it approaches its
embochure, is considerably elevated above the surrounding country.
The earth which it washes down from the Alps is gradually deposited
where the river runs more slowly. The banks, in consequence, require
to be periodically elevated; and were that neglected, the river
would soon sweep them all away, and render some of the most fertile
portions of Italy a wide and noxious marsh, a focus of malaria and
fever. Now, it is the same wherever man's cupidity has thrown up
artificial mounds in Commerce. They are always attended with danger,
and sooner or later they are swept away. It is the sure decree of
God: "He that loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor
he that loves abundance with increase."

    THE SOUTH SEA BUBBLE.

    DELUSIONS BELIEVED.

One such illustration may suffice for all: but there is another
memorable Scheme to which it seems proper to refer--that which is
known in this country as the South Sea Bubble. About the beginning
of last century, an opinion generally prevailed that the wealth of
South America was exhaustless. A privileged Company to trade with it
was accordingly formed, and though the genius of the French and the
English are widely different, a passion for speculation and gold
seized upon our countrymen, as violent and absorbing as that which
appeared in connection with the Mississippi Scheme of France. By
various devices, in which the principles of the Word of God were
outraged, the managers of the South Sea Scheme excited expectations
of the most visionary kind. The mania seized upon the nation through
all its borders. The stock of the Company rose till it was eagerly
bought at a premium of 1000 /per cent./ Catching the general
spirit, joint-stock companies sprang up everywhere as rapidly as
the Prophet's gourd; and so willing were men to be deceived, that
schemes which should have been put down on their first appearance
were eagerly embraced. One of these was denominated, "A Company for
carrying on an Undertaking of Great Advantage, but nobody to know
what it is;"[27] and yet Englishmen, proverbially calculating and
cautious in their financial affairs, actually embarked in that
transparent deception, like men infatuated by their haste to be rich.
The projector of the scheme asked a deposit of £2 on each share of
£100, and the promised return was £100 /per annum/. On the first
day of his scheme he received about 1000 deposits, or nearly £2000,
and with that sum he immediately and for ever disappeared. In this
manner, the original South Sea Scheme branched out into eighty-seven
cognate speculations, each of which was eventually a fountain of
misery to multitudes.

    THE RULING PASSION.

The following sentences graphically tell the state of London and
this kingdom at the period referred to:--"From morning till evening,
'Change Alley was filled to overflowing with one dense moving mass
of living beings, composed of the most incongruous materials, and in
all things, save the mad pursuit wherein they were employed, utterly
opposed in their principles and feelings, and far asunder in their
stations of life and the professions which they followed. Statesmen
and clergymen deserted their high stations to enter upon this grand
theatre of speculation and gambling; and churchmen and dissenters
left their fierce disputes, and forgot their wranglings upon church
government, in this deep and hazardous game they were playing for
worldly treasures, and for riches which, even if won, were liable to
disappear within the hour of their creation. Whigs and Tories buried
their weapons of political warfare, discarded party animosities, and
mingled together in kind and friendly intercourse, each exulting as
their stocks advanced in price, and murmuring dissatisfaction and
disappointment when fortune frowned upon their wild operations;
and lawyers, physicians, merchants, and tradesmen, forsook their
employments, neglected their business, and disregarded their
engagements, to whirl giddily along with the swollen stream, to
be at last ingulfed in the wide sea of bankruptcy. Men of the
highest rank were deeply engaged in stock-jobbing transactions;
and investments in the most worthless bubbles of the age were made
by them in heavy sums, and without the least hesitation or previous
inquiry. Females mixed with the crowd, and, forgetting the stations
and employments which nature had fitted them to adorn, dealt boldly
and extensively in the bubbles that rose before them, and, like those
by whom they were surrounded, rose from poverty to wealth, and from
that were thrust down to beggary and want, and all in one short
week, and perhaps before the evening which terminated the first
day of their speculations. Ladies of high rank, regardless of every
appearance of dignity, and blinded by the prevailing infatuation,
drove to the shops of their milliners and haberdashers, and there met
stockbrokers whom they regularly employed, and through whom extensive
sales were daily negotiated. In the midst of the excitement, all
distinctions of party and religion, circumstances and character,
were swallowed up. Bubbles were blown into existence on every hand,
and stocks of every conceivable name, nature, and description, were
issued to an incredible extent."[28]

    THE FOLLY OF MAN'S WISDOM.

But this also came to an end; and disasters followed which rent
society like an earthquake. The leaders in the scheme were consigned
to prison, or compelled to seek refuge in exile; while their deluded
victims were left amid poverty, and its attendant woe, to gather
the native fruit of the thorns and the thistles, from which they
had expected grapes and figs. It was miserable comfort to reflect,
that their own baseless expectations had abetted the delusion, and
made the ruin complete.

    RESULTS.

And such is another illustration of the effects which follow the
infatuation of putting Mammon in the place of God, or delivering
up the whole soul to the pursuit of what the Holy One declares to
be unsatisfying as a dream. It is thus that he warns men, in his
providence, against that lust of speculation, which is often as
ruinous as the lust of power, or any passion which drives men
headlong upon misery.

The very titles of some of the schemes which were projected at the
period now referred to, stamp them with infatuation. The nation had
become an aggregate of gamblers, and the following are some of the
stakes:--

    A Company for Increasing Children's Fortunes.

    A Company for Furnishing Funerals in any part of Great
        Britain.

    A Company, already mentioned, for carrying on an Undertaking
        of Great Advantage; but nobody to know what it is.

    A Company for Making Looking-Glasses. Capital, £2,000,000.

    A Company for Improving Malt Liquors. Capital, £4,000,000.

    A Company for Insuring all Masters and Mistresses against
        Losses by Servants. Capital, £3,000,000.

    A Company for Importing Walnut Trees. Capital, £2,000,000.

    A Company for Erecting Hospitals for Illegitimate Children.
        Capital, £2,000,000.

    A Company for Erecting Loan-Offices. Capital, £2,000,000.

--But we need not enumerate more. In that scramble for riches,
reason appears to have been befooled. Departing from the law of
God, men were left to starvation: "They that did feed delicately,
are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet,
embrace dunghills." What though one, or two, or a few realized
wealth, and withdrew in time from the ingulfing vortex? The
wide wail--the desolating explosions which followed, were poorly
compensated for by these exceptions. What though some might be
charioted to-day, who yesterday lived by the sweat of their brows?
To-morrow will see them more wretched than before. What though
artificial standards have elevated a nominal wealth to the value
of Potosi or Golconda? Broken fortunes, broken characters, broken
hearts, are the sad realities which close the vista. And thus, would
men learn, they might; it is written in light above us, according
to the words already quoted: "He that loveth silver shall not be
satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase."
If covetousness be idolatry, and Mammon the idol, his devotees are
taught that disaster and woe are their lot.

    THE IDOL AND THE WORSHIPPER.

Yet men have not been warned by all these things; nay, the same
spirit has revived in very recent years; and could we unveil the
misery which has been endured by thousands as the result of recent
crashes, the impression might be deepened as to the madness of
"making haste to be rich." Men have said, "To-day or to-morrow we
will go into such a city, and continue there for a year, and buy and
sell and get gain;" but ere the year was closed, their gains have
taken to themselves wings. The will of God was left out of view in
their plans, and they were baffled.

    THE END.

We must repeat--we have no controversy with commercial enterprise,
when conducted in accordance with the wisdom of the Word of God. It
is one of the means of binding nation to nation, and bringing back
the alienated children of men to one wide family circle, according
to the purpose of our Father who is in heaven. But that is not to
be accomplished by outraging his laws; and the man, the company,
the nation, which extinguishes the lamp, will be left to walk in
darkness.--When the butchers of the first French revolution were
leading their victims to death, some of those who were doomed to
die, were conducted, by a refinement in cruelty, along an alley into
a garden of flowers, where only fragrance and beauty greeted their
senses; but at a certain spot, inevitable doom awaited them, at the
hands of men who thirsted for their blood--and we need scarcely apply
the illustration. In their haste to be rich, men seem, for a season,
to walk amid fragrance. Their path is all luminous with hope--such
hope as man's devices can inspire; but sooner or later they are
hurried into misery.

           "When infamous venality, grown bold,
            Writes on his bosom, 'to be let, or sold,'"

men have laid a snare in which, by God's decree, they will be
entangled; they have dug a pitfall, in which, by God's decree,
they will be taken.



                            CHAPTER VI.

          RELIGION IN THE PROFESSIONS:--I. THE PHYSICIAN--
                  II. THE LAWYER--III. THE DIVINE.

There are many symptoms of the reviving power of religion in our
day. Some of the great questions which enter into the very heart of
society are connected with the claims of truth upon the one hand,
or the pretensions of those who would suppress it upon the other.
The high courts of Parliament are convulsed by religious discussions.
When wars arise, or are threatened, they often owe their origin to
topics connected with religion. Periodicals which began their career
in indifference or antagonism to the truth, are now obliged to do
obeisance to it, if they would command the attention of men, and
some even of those whose opposition was once a mixture of sneers
and acrimony, have now to borrow weight and influence from doctrines
which will be found ascendant when every form of error shall have
vanished away. In a word, empires, countries, households, individual
souls, are alike proclaiming that the kingdom of our Father who is
in heaven must come--that His will must be done on earth as it is
done in heaven.

Nay more, there is a kind of Christianity even among our infidels
--that is, they owe not a little of what they hold to the very
system which they disparage and affect to ignore. The truth is thus
producing effects even in spheres from which men would gladly banish
it, but into which it is making its way, like a rising tide, in spite
alike of the indifference and the hostility of men. The friends of
truth are thus encouraged. The collected light of the past and the
present is projected into the future. Our nation, and the progress
of truth within our borders, is a type of the world. In due time,
religion will rule all; either the sceptre of love will guide, or
the rod of iron will dash the nations.[29]

    THE RELIGIOUS PHYSICIAN.

In no respect, perhaps, is this progress more apparent than as
regards the Medical Profession. In ancient times, it was proverbially
true, or alleged, that wherever there were three physicians, there
were two atheists;[30] that is, the majority of that profession were
then deemed atheists, or atheistic. How changed now! Many are, no
doubt, still living without any recognition of God. They refuse to
be illumined by the light which irradiates others, and grovel amid
the grossness of material things, instead of soaring, as they might
do, to the spiritual, the heavenly, the eternal. But others, led
by the Supreme Wisdom, do soar to these. With religion for their
directress, they are skilled in the remedy of the soul as well as of
the body. They can occasion the melody of spiritual joy and spiritual
health, as well as promote the blessedness which originates in the
well-being of the body. An accomplished physician of our day has
said, and said with truth: "Every medical practitioner, whether he
desires to have it or not, has a cure of souls as well as of bodies.
He is literally an inheritor of some of the duties of the very
apostles, and called to be an imitator of the Lord Jesus Christ."[31]
Now, as no sphere could be named where Religion is confessedly more
required, let us consider it for a little in connection with the
Medical Profession.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    DANGER--

I. Conversant daily with death, or walking from hour to hour along
the verge of the grave, and in sight of eternity, there is some
danger lest these great realities should lose their power--that is,
lest the mind should become indifferent to all that is most solemn
in the lot of man. And what is the antidote? There is none, except
a constant realizing of eternal and spiritual things. The mind
must be kept constantly under their influence, or the proverb as
to the atheists will be at least practically realized. Deprived
as Physicians often are, of the repose of the Sabbath, and all
opportunities for worshipping the Father of our spirits, they need
a double portion of religion in the soul.[32] If it be not possessed,
then for the same reason as soldiers and seamen are profligate and
abandoned, till their profligacy be proverbial, do those who tend
our bodies sink into deeper spiritual darkness than others. Though
familiar with death, they are not warned, as other men are, of
the need of preparing for what follows the all-decisive change.
Accustomed to devote their thoughts and their care--sometimes,
perhaps, with feverish anxiety--to the body, they are in danger of
forgetting its immortal occupant. Many do forget it, and gaze on
the power of that ruthless destroyer who has baffled all their skill,
with as little thought as a sexton on a coffin, or on the fragments
of the dead which he dishumes with his mattock. Regarding the body as
the man, and overlooking all beyond it, a gross materialism becomes
dominant in the mind; and unless a divine, a living, and spiritual
religion occupy the soul, as the antidote to this danger, the most
skilful physician may just become practically the most thorough
materialist.

Nay, far more: such a physician must often see the mind of the
dying utterly dependent on the state of the body. It is delirious
or calm--it is soothed or agonized--it is torpid or restless, just
according to the stage of the disease. This at least is commonly the
case; and accustomed to that spectacle, the physician who watches,
perhaps with deep sympathy for the sufferer, over every new phase
of the disease, almost in spite of himself regards the patient as
a piece of mere materialism. It is upon the material part that his
thoughts are fixed, or his skill brought to bear. He thus magnifies
his office, and hence his danger; hence the grossness of some of
the more vulgar minds among physicians; hence the perils even of
the purest and the most scientific.

    THE ANTIDOTE.

But hence, also, the need and the preciousness of pure and undefiled
religion. Hence the mercy implied in the revelation of a spiritual
Teacher, the very Spirit of God, to ward off that danger, and give
reality and prominence to the things of the soul. Hence a loud call
to those who know that there is a spirit in man, to realize its
existence and seek its welfare. Hence the need of solemn impressions
of the truth of God, in all that is said to fix our thoughts upon
the soul, its condition and its destiny. Hence, in short, if any
man needs a personal religion--that is, a religion for himself, a
Saviour for himself, repentance, faith, love, hope, holiness, all
for himself--it is the man who lives on the confines between life
and death--who has to do with the body when affection clings to it
most closely; and who is apt to forget the inmate while attending
to its abode--the immortal, while concentrating his skill upon the
transient dust.

    SIN, AND DISEASE.

Or farther; no intelligent physician can practise for a single month
without having the connection between sin and disease forced upon his
notice. He may be too thoughtless to attend to it, or too gross to
think of it at all; but whether he think of it or not, the fact is
unquestionable--there is a necessary, a divinely-appointed connection
between crime and disease. The bloated drunkard and the wasted
debauchee, the premature death of many a youth, the madness of many
a maniac--all proclaim the beneficent decree of God, that suffering
shall follow sin. Now, can it be rational for men to be daily
cognisant with that connection, and do nothing to counteract it?
Maintaining a daily conflict with pain, shall they ignore its origin?
Are they benevolent or merciful, who assail the bodily disease, but
neglect the divine antidote for the soul? Nay, am I not conspiring
against the immortality of self-deluded man, if I know a cure for
that mortal ailment which has seized on the very vitals of his being,
and yet hide it from his view? Rather let me press it kindly on his
notice; and that I may learn to do so with tenderness and tact, let
me make sure that it has attracted my own, that my soul is illumined
by its radiance and animated by its hopes.

    INSANITY.

Physicians, moreover, have often to deal with the insane; and,
though it be one of the grossest of all libels against the Gospel
of peace, to allege that it ever produces insanity, it is no less
true that exaggerated, distorted, and false views of some doctrines
of revelation may intensely agitate the soul. Extreme degrees of
remorse for sin committed, and felt in its sinfulness against God,
may convulse the whole man, till reason totter on its throne. With
such cases the physician may be called to deal; and if he be ignorant
of the power of religion, or prejudiced against it, not a cure, but
an aggravation of the malady, may be expected to result. Religion is
now among the universally accredited means of cure in well-ordered
Institutions for the insane; and he who is ignorant of the soothing
power of God's pure truth in the conscience of a believer, is ill
adapted to apply that remedy with effect. Hence the need of personal
religion in those who watch for the diseased; hence the need of the
Spirit's teaching, that he who is a guardian of the body's health
may know how to promote the soul's; and /that/ no physician will know
till the Saviour be a Saviour to him, and the great question, "What
must I do to be saved?" be practically adjusted.

    A PHYSICIAN'S POWER--

And when we think of the position in which the patient is commonly
seen by the physician, the reasons why religion should reign
paramount in the latter become more cogent still. The afflicted
are, in some sense, at the mercy of the physician. The skill of
the medical attendant is the sheet-anchor of the sufferer. Actions,
words, and looks, are carefully watched and scrutinized, as if
destiny were in them. The physician has given relief from pain: he
has, perhaps, brought back the patient from the verge of the grave;
and hence the one feels that the other is, for the time, the very
life of his life. Now, for what purpose should all that ascendency be
employed? Should it be used merely to amuse the sufferer, or beguile
his thoughts for a little away from the prison-house into which
sickness has converted his chamber? Ah, no; but for higher, holier
ends: if that physician have religion in his own soul, he will use
his influence as a means of medicating the soul of the sufferer,
by turning his thoughts to Him who kills and makes alive; and where
that is neglected, opportunities the most precious are lost--a talent
which might reproduce itself more than a thousand-fold is guiltily
hid in the earth.

    ITS USES.

Nor should we fail to notice the influence for good which may be
exerted over the relatives of the diseased in times of sickness
and sorrow. When the ploughshare of trial has torn up the heart,
a physician can drop in the seed which bears fruit unto holiness,
if he love souls, or be wise to win them. Grief is indulged before
him, which is pent up in the presence of others; fears are expressed,
dark forebodings appear, which none but the physician is permitted to
witness. Confessions also are sometimes made, or secrets disclosed,
which throw the door for doing good more open still; and, amid all
these things, only one explanation can be given, if the opportunity
be not seized--that physician has no love for souls; he does not know
their value; eternity is a name to him. True, there is a professional
etiquette to which many defer, and which it would be wrong, in its
own place, to violate. But that etiquette is worldly or morbid which
stands in the way of loving men's souls, or seeking to do them good;
and such love will watch for ways for displaying itself amid a crowd
of obstacles.

    THE GREAT PHYSICIAN.

It has been the conviction of some Christian physicians, that
none but a Christian can discharge aright the high duties of their
profession. In its widest sense, we adopt the maxim; it is specially
true in regard to the necessity which exists for subordinating all to
the high interests of that life where "there shall be no more death.
"--It is in this way that the Saviour's example is best copied and
the Saviour's glory best promoted. What physicians only attempt, He
accomplished. They strive to prolong life; He is the life itself.
They are often physicians of no value; He dispenses the balm that
is in Gilead; He is the physician there. "This great Physician!"
one exclaims, "this great sufferer! this vanquisher of death! this
possessor and granter of an endless life, the Lord Jesus Christ, God
over all, is the true Head of our profession;" and blessed is that
physician who has learned, from his Head in glory, to watch for the
souls, while he sheds blessings upon the bodies, of men.

    ILLUSTRATIONS.

Nor are we merely theorizing here. Some physicians, in all countries
and ages, have been alive to this view of their profession.
Boerhaave, for example, was a physician in such practice, that
princes, ambassadors, and even Peter the Great, had to remain
for hours in his ante-chamber before they could be admitted to an
interview; and yet it was his constant habit to devote the first hour
of every day to prayer and meditation on the Word of God--a practice
which he recommended to others, as the source of that vigour which
carried him through all his toils. Harvey, the discoverer of the
circulation of the blood, tells us that he never dissected the
body of an animal without discovering something in which he had to
recognise the hand of an all-wise Creator. William Hey, a surgeon
of eminence, is described as one of those who fear God in youth, who
walk with him through life, and to whom the hoary head is therefore
a crown of glory. Arrested by the words, "If any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature," and affected by the love of God in the
Saviour, he devoted himself, /first/ to that which God puts first
--the soul. The holy duties and holy pleasures of the Sabbath rest
were zealously cultivated by Hey; in short, he escaped from the
dangers of his profession, because he was afraid of them, and adopted
the divine means of safety. His "support and comfort were found in
believing views of the atonement made by Jesus;" and, resting there,
he was blessed and made a blessing. And Jenner, the discoverer of
vaccination, is to be ranked in the same class--but we need not
particularize. As we examine the records of the past, physician
after physician rises up before us qualified to minister to the soul
as well as the body; and some of them actually doing so. Driven by
the perils of their profession, they sought the wisdom of "God only
wise," and were guided by his Spirit in the path whose end is glory.

Let us, however, single out one example of a devout physician, and
contemplate the ascendency of pure and undefiled religion in his life
and death.

    DR. JOHN CHEYNE.

Dr. John Cheyne was born at Leith in the year 1777, and obtained
a medical decree at Edinburgh in 1795. After various attempts to
establish himself in practice, he settled in Dublin in the year 1809,
and rose step by step from an income at the rate of three guineas
for six months, till he was in receipt of £5000 /per annum/, on an
average of ten years. When failing health forced him to withdraw from
practice, he had received in fees for four months no less a sum than
£2,230.

But while thus rising to a high point in his profession, Dr. Cheyne
was not oblivious of the soul. To a friend he once wrote: "You may
wish to know the condition of my mind. I am humbled to the dust by
the thought that there is not one action of my busy life which will
bear the eye of a holy God. But when I reflect on the invitation
of the Redeemer, 'Come unto Me,' and that I have accepted this
invitation; and, moreover, that my conscience testifies that I
earnestly desire to have my will in all things conformed to the
will of God, I have peace, I have the promised rest--promised by
Him in whom was found no guile."

    A CHRISTIAN PHYSICIAN.

Moreover, Dr. Cheyne, with the calmness which only the truth as it
is in Jesus, and good hope through him, can inspire, gave directions
for his own funeral, in a spirit which evinces the great firmness of
his faith. In the act of triumphing over death, he ordered a column
to be erected near the spot where his body lies, on which were to
be inscribed these texts, as voices from eternity: "God so loved the
world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth
on him might not perish, but have eternal life;" "Come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;"
and, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man
shall see the Lord." And while Dr. Cheyne thus strove even from the
tomb to beckon sinners to the Saviour and to glory, he was careful
to conceal his own name, and withhold it from the column. He was not
less careful, however, to say, as speaking to the passer-by, "The
name, profession, and age of him whose body lies beneath are of
little consequence; but it may be of great importance to you to know,
that, by the grace of God, he was brought to look to the Lord Jesus
as the only Saviour of sinners, and that this 'looking unto Jesus'
gave peace to his soul." Nor was this all; the appeal is yet more
cogent to the reader. "Pray to God," it says, "pray to God that you
may be instructed in the Gospel; and be assured that God will give
the Holy Spirit, the only teacher of true wisdom, to them that ask
him."

There, then, is the case of one physician whom no materialism could
harden, and no familiarity with death blind to the glories of life
and its Lord. He was careful to roll back every reproach from the
pure truth of God; and whether that reproach originated with the
superficial and the prejudiced in his own profession, or the ignorant
in other spheres, his fine mental powers, his love of souls, his felt
interest in the things of eternity and the favour of God, evermore
urged Dr. Cheyne to act like one who knew the grace of God in truth.

Now, what has been may be--what has been in such a cause, /ought/
to be; and were men not too often the willing victims of the evil
heart of unbelief, we should find more of the guardians of our health
walking in the steps of Luke, the beloved physician, than is now the
case. A godless physician beside a dying man's couch must exercise a
torpedo-like influence on the soul, deadening or disturbing all that
is heavenly. On the other hand, the man who can wisely and tenderly
prescribe for the soul, or at least point to its great Physician,
while caring for the aching or the wasted body, is a brother born
for adversity indeed. Countless as are the opportunities which that
wise and Christian physician may enjoy for warning the careless, for
cheering the despairing, or pointing the dying to the Life, he is
not the friend, but the heartless enemy of man, who neglects to
embrace them, and tell of Him who is both our righteousness and our
strength. If no words of reprobation be too strong for him who sees
a fellow-creature writhing in agony without assisting him when he
has the power, what shall we say of the unfeeling, the inhuman being,
who lets a fellow-sinner perish in his guilt for ever, unheeded and
unwarned?

    RETRIBUTIONS.

One sentence more. Various solutions have been attempted for the
phenomenon which has long been common--the ungodliness or the gross
lives of many physicians. Without challenging any of the explanations
which have been offered, there can be no doubt that that phenomenon
has a moral cause. Men neglect the most solemn warnings. While
tending the sick and the dying, they see sin and its effects linked
together in bonds which cannot be broken; and yet they continue in
sin themselves. Unchecked by what /should/ check, passion carries
them forward in their downward career, and the coarseness of
the lives of some physicians appears a righteous retribution for
warnings slighted--for lessons not learned--for God not heard--and
the divinely-appointed connection between sin and misery not
recognised. Where, on earth, can a scene so appropriate for religion
as a dying man's chamber be found? And shall the physician leave
it without blame, if he not merely drop no hint of the glory which
awaits the ransomed, the woe of the unsaved; but, moreover, proceeds
to add sin to sin in his own life? The man who does so, voluntarily
and sinfully comes down from the highest vantage ground on which
a mortal can stand. The patient feels as if his life were in the
physician's hand; a word from him would sink like an oracle into
the soul, but that word is not spoken--not one hint is given, and
in the high reckoning of eternity is not such a man guilty in the
deepest sense?

           *       *       *       *       *

    THE LAWYER.

II. Perhaps the Lawyer is exposed to yet greater spiritual peril
than the physician, and his need of a better wisdom than man's is
proportionably great. The circumstances in which he is generally
consulted render it specially needful that the law of God should be
in his heart, and shine as the pole-star of his mind. Men resort to
him, smarting under a sense of injury; and the lawyer needs prudence
to repress the rising or the rankling desire for revenge. They seek
his guidance when threatened by the oppressor; how discreet, then,
should he be in his counsels! They may even ask his aid to accomplish
some nefarious project--to overreach and defraud; or, to defend
some fraud already committed. How prompt, then, should lawyers be
to repress such iniquity, that the land may not mourn because blood
touches blood! Every trial in this world's concerns--every dread of
loss, of bankruptcy, or imposition, may send the client to the door
of his legal adviser; and, amid all these things, if there be a man
on earth who needs the control of steadfast, unfaltering truth--a
counsellor who is ever near--a wisdom which cannot err--a charity
which "seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no
evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth
all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all
things"--the lawyer is that man.

    MORAL DANGERS.

And yet there is much in his position to bias or to pervert
his judgments. Accustomed, at least in some departments of his
profession, to various sinister influences, and often more bent
on discovering what can be said for a cause than what is true, the
mind may be so warped as to lose the power of dispassionate decision.
It may acquire such a habit of tampering with the truthful, or be so
much more anxious to carry a point than to establish a fact, that a
kind of subtle Jesuitism may be the result--a habit of perplexing all
that is simple, or shrouding in mystery all that is plain.

Moreover, an advocate, while he pleads for the life or the liberty
of a client, may not merely feel himself free, but bound, to use
every means, to accomplish his object, even though some of them may
be tortuous or equivocal. Nay, it may become a point of honour to
conceal or perplex the true, and attempt to establish the false. In
this manner, the endeavour to keep as near to falsehood as a regard
to character, or rather to success, will allow, may foster a habit
of mind subversive of all that is lofty or pure in truth. And
where shall we find an antidote to that but in the truth which
came from heaven--where but in the authority of Him who is the Lord
of conscience--where but in the Judge of all, whose law written on
the heart, though only partially legible now, taught even a heathen
to say, "/Fiat Justitia, ruat coelum?/"

    SPECIAL PLEADERS.

    "THE LICENCE OF COUNSEL."

The baneful effects of this moral peril are recognised, in common
language, by the discredit always thrown upon a Special Pleader,
now almost a synonyme for meanness, chicanery, and deception. There
are, no doubt, many who are above the baseness of fraud, and the
dishonesty of a conscious attempt to deceive; but it may fairly be
questioned whether it be common to find men, in certain departments
of the legal profession, so thoroughly elevated above temptation as
not to be exposed to moral peril. Nay, we speak too guardedly on this
subject--others have spoken out. "There are many," an eminent lawyer
has said, "whom it may be needful to remind, that an advocate, by
the sacred duty of his connection with his client, knows, in the
discharge of that office, but one person in the world--that client,
and none other. To serve that client, by all expedient means; to
protect that client, at all hazards and costs to all others (even
the party already injured), and, amongst others, to himself, is the
highest and most unquestioned of his duties. And he must not regard
the alarm, the suffering, the torment, the destruction, which he
may bring upon any other. Nay, separating even the duties of a
patriot from those of an advocate, he must go on, reckless of the
consequences, if his fate should unhappily be to involve his country
in confusion for his client."[33]

    INIQUITY SYSTEMATIZED.

Now, this is plain, but it is also perilous. The expedient is here
allowed to supersede not merely the patriotic, but also the truthful.
If the object aimed at, which may be to screen successful villany, or
shelter even a murderer from punishment, can be accomplished--all is
reckoned fair. Truth may be compromised; honest witnesses browbeaten
or bewildered; and the beautiful transparency of one upright man's
intercourse with another turned into mockery, or treated with
derision. Lawyers not a few have proved, by their offences against
truth and the sacred obligations of man to man, that it is only too
congenial to their liking thus to trample truth in the dust. They
feign "pity, indignation, moral approbation, or disgust or contempt,
when they neither feel anything of the kind, nor believe the case
to be one that justly calls for such feelings; they are led also
occasionally to entrap or mislead, to revile, insult, and calumniate
persons whom they may, in their heart, believe to be respectable
persons and honest witnesses," and such putting of bitter for sweet,
and sweet for bitter, must involve a woe. It cannot fail to warp the
conscience and becloud the mind; and the man who does not feel the
danger of such ways, is already their dupe or their victim. One
has pertinently asked the learned and the noble who patronize these
outrages against truth, while yet they profess to be Christians,
how they can reconcile the two. There is a religion which says that
'lying lips are an abomination to the Lord;' and how can men, it is
asked, avoid the solemn scriptural denunciation, "Woe unto them
that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light,
and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for
bitter; ... who justify the wicked for reward, and take away the
righteousness of the righteous from him."[34]

    LORD BACON.

Perhaps the most remarkable illustration of the injurious effects
of such habits upon the heart and mind is found in the case of Lord
Chancellor Bacon--

            "The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind."

This is not the place to tell of his learning, his world-wide fame,
his greatness as a philosopher who revolutionized science, and
certainly introduced a new era in the history of man. His eloquence
as a pleader, and the stately majesty of his thinking, place Bacon
high among "the starry lights of genius." He is in philosophy what
Shakespeare or Milton is among poets.

And yet, that man so gifted and transcendant, was guilty of actions
which equal in turpitude aught that is recorded in the history of
human weakness. Whether we are to ascribe it to the discipline of his
profession, fostering some inborn tendencies to what is disreputable
and degrading, we do not tarry to inquire; but looking at the fact
which history renders too unquestionable, we have in this illustrious
philosopher but unscrupulous man, a painful exhibition of man's
native weakness when the heavenly lamp is shaded or extinguished.
Some have explained the low morality of Bacon by supposing that
he was an infidel, and some of his reputed works rather favour the
supposition.[35] But his productions as a whole forbid us to adopt
that solution, and we are consequently left with an example of a most
painful kind, to prove the worthlessness of powers the most colossal,
of learning and originality unsurpassed, of gifts the most varied
and transcendent to keep man in the path of virtue, when the heavenly
guide is abandoned. We can only enumerate in a catalogue some of the
incidents in the life of Bacon which establish these conclusions.

    "MEN OF HIGH DEGREE ARE A LIE."

At a critical period, he received from the Earl of Essex, when that
nobleman was in favour with Queen Elizabeth, a gift of land which was
worth at least £1800. Yet against his benefactor, Bacon afterwards
enlisted his great powers, to convict him of high-treason; and that
merely to purchase the Queen's favour, and promote the philosopher's
advancement. "Bacon spent the ten days which elapsed between the
commitment of Essex to the Tower and his arraignment, shut up in
his chambers in Gray's Inn, studying the law of treason; looking out
for parallel cases of an aggravated nature in the history of other
countries, and considering how he might paint the unpardonable guilt
of the accused in even blacker colours than could be employed by the
ferocious Coke, famous for insulting his victims."[36] The man whom
Bacon thus laboured to condemn had heaped favour after favour upon
him, and been meanly fawned upon in return, yet during the trial,
Lord Campbell says, Bacon "most artfully and inhumanly compared Essex
to the Duke of Guise," and adds, in regard to the Earl after he was
condemned, and an interview which Bacon had with the Queen upon the
subject, "Why did he not throw himself on his knees before her and
pray for a pardon? Because, while it was possible that he might have
melted her, it was possible that he might have offended her, and
that, a vacancy in the office of Solicitor-General occurring, (for
which Bacon was a suitor) he might be again passed over."

But not contented with having pled for the condemnation of Essex,
Bacon, in order to ingratiate himself farther with the Queen,
published an attack upon the fallen man, regarding which the great
philosopher's biographer says: "No honourable man would purchase
Bacon's subsequent elevation at the price of being the author of
this publication.... The base ingratitude and the slavish meanness
manifested by him on this occasion, called forth the general
indignation of his contemporaries.... He had before his eyes no
just standard of honour, and in the race of ambition, he had lost
all sense of the distinctions between right and wrong."

    THE TORTURE.

    EMPLOYED BY LORD BACON.

It were a weariness to trace all the instances of Bacon's meanness in
place-hunting, and his fulsome adulation of those who appeared likely
to promote his views. He even went so far as to prosecute a clergyman
named Peacham, for a sermon alleged to contain treason, but never
either preached or published. Bacon was then Attorney-General. He
tampered with the judges, says Lord Campbell, and had the unhappy man
put to the torture, to wring a confession from him, without success.
"He was examined before torture, between torture, and after torture.
"--These are Bacon's own words, and according to the biographer of
the Chancellors, there is reason to believe that he even presided at
the rack. He thus outraged the law and the constitution of England
to gratify James I., then upon the throne. But the Lord Chancellor
of the day was aged and infirm. Lord Campbell says, "he could
not much longer hold the seals, and Bacon was resolved to be his
successor." That was his aim, and is not Lord Campbell right in
adding, "there are stronger contrasts of light and shade in the
character of Bacon, than probably of any other man who ever lived?"
The instances of meanness, of subserviency, of adulation to those
from whom he expected favours, as proved by his own letters, convict
this philosopher and sage of conduct which would have degraded a
menial; while to the whole he could add a malignity never surpassed,
all under pretence of acting a Christian part. His biographer says
that he poured oil of vitriol into the wounds he had inflicted,
and it was in perfect keeping with this that that Attorney-General
of England, in consequence of some offence which he had unwarily
given, flung himself on the floor, kissed the feet of such a man as
Buckingham, the profligate favourite of James, and vowed never to
rise till he was forgiven.

    BACON'S BRIBES--

But he could not always proceed unchecked. Nemesis was not forgetful
of the right. Bacon had reached the summit of his ambition; he was
Lord High Chancellor of England, and in that character soon became
notorious for the bribes which he accepted for his judgments. This
more than European philosopher, this author of a new logic, and of
works which brought the learned from all parts of Christendom to
converse with him, was known to take bribes as a judge! A committee
of the House of Commons was appointed to investigate such corruption.
The Chancellor shuffled, equivocated, denied, but at last confessed,
because the evidence was such as no partiality could escape. A great
number of charges of bribery were established. The whole have been
supposed to amount to £100,000. Bacon was about to be impeached.
He broke down under the load of infamy, and appealed to the King to
interpose; but all was unavailing, and the Lord High Chancellor of
England, one of the profoundest thinkers of modern times, gave in
to his peers, "His confession and humble submission." It says, "I
do plainly and ingenuously confess that I am guilty of corruption;
and do renounce all defence and put myself upon the grace and mercy
of your Lordships." When visited at his house, where he lay in
shattered health, to ascertain the genuineness of his signature to
the confession, he exclaimed, "My lords, it is my act, my hand, my
heart. I beseech your Lordships to be merciful to a broken reed;"
and he subsequently surrendered the great seal, the bauble for
which, Macaulay says, he had sullied his integrity, had resigned
his independence, had violated the most sacred obligations of
friendship and gratitude, had flattered the worthless, had persecuted
the innocent, had tampered with judges, had tortured prisoners, and
had wasted on paltry intrigues all the powers of the most exquisitely
constructed intellect that has ever been bestowed on any of the
children of men.

    HIS DISGRACE.

Bacon's sentence from his peers was, a fine of £40,000; he was to be
imprisoned in the Tower during the King's pleasure; to be for ever
incapable of holding any public office, place, or employment, and
never to sit in Parliament, or come within the verge of the court.
The king was eventually moved to rescind the judgment, but Bacon was
then too old to profit by the clemency--he was on the eve of passing
away to meet the just and merciful Judge of the skies.

Now, this glimpse at the rise and fall of this great lawyer,
proclaims aloud the insufficiency of all but the grace and truth
of God to keep man morally erect. Not gigantic intellectual powers
--had these sufficed, Bacon would have been steadfast as a rock. Not
worldly success--Bacon sat at the right hand of royalty, and kept
the conscience of a king. Not great trust--the Lord High Chancellor
of England was the foremost subject in that respect. Not celebrity
--with that, Bacon might have been satiated. Not greatness--without
goodness, that is a tinkling cymbal. What then? The answer which
experience, history, and the Word of God combine to give, is this,
"I am what I am by the grace of God that is in me." The man who
dims the light of that lamp which was kindled in heaven, has already
tottered to his fall.

But truth would have "fallen in the streets," had all lawyers acted
thus. There have been some, however, who repelled such things with
high-toned integrity and honour, and we now turn to a contrast to
Lord Chancellor Bacon--to one

                                            "In whom
            The British Themis gloried with just cause."

    SIR MATTHEW HALE.

Sir Matthew Hale was one of those upright men whom all the good
delight to honour. With his conscience quickened by habitual contact
with the Word of God, and his whole soul familiar with the heavenly
standard, he repudiated all that was disreputable in his profession.
Pure religion presided over his practice; and while honouring God, he
was honoured by him. As soon as Hale was convinced of the injustice
of any cause, he immediately declined to advocate it, and utterly
refused to plead against the truth. He at least frowned upon all
that was false and unfair. As a judge, he repressed every attempt
to ensnare or mislead a witness. He felt that, when such things are
done under the very shadow of the judge's bench, where the great
ends of truth and justice should be inviolably promoted, gross guilt
may be expected to reign in other spheres. He, therefore, shunned
as a sin all that savoured of finesse; and, braced for duty by the
truth of God, no influence, no entreaty, not even a monarch's smile,
could induce him to swerve from the path in which a good man ought
to go. In short, his pleadings as an advocate were characterized by
the same integrity, and the same Christian consistency as the other
actions of his life. Indeed, to act otherwise, or to be one thing as
a lawyer and another as a man, is one of the numerous conventional
snares laid for conscience which tend to meanness as surely as they
encourage immorality. It seems a truism, "It is as great a dishonour
as can be inflicted, for man to say otherwise than he knows to be
true, for the love of a little money;" and yet what crowds are thus
degraded!

Need we add, religion repudiates all these fetches? Common as it
may be to sacrifice conscience for gain or for professional success,
the man who has sat down at the Saviour's feet, and is taught by the
Saviour's Spirit, will be ready with the cry: "Into their assembly,
mine honour, be not thou united."

    SIR WILLIAM JONES.

Side by side with Sir Matthew Hale we may place Sir William Jones,
who was as eminent for personal religion as he was for his profound
acquaintance with the Oriental and other tongues. Lawyer as he was,
his was a mind of decided godliness, and a life of much consistency.
The atonement of the Saviour was the anchor of his hope, and the Word
of God a light to his feet and a lamp to his path. He said of it: "I
have carefully and regularly perused the Holy Scriptures, and am of
opinion that the volume, independently of its divine origin, contains
more sublimity, purer morality, more important history, and finer
strains of eloquence, than can be collected from all other books,
in whatever other languages they may have been written." Now, that
is much--but not too much--from one who had mastered eight-and-twenty
languages, and was familiar with the riches of them all. It stands in
instructive contrast with the flippant ungodliness of those who never
devoted one earnest hour, or poured forth one earnest petition, to
know the mystery which was hid for ages, but which is opened up in
the revelation of Jesus. It shows that there is nothing essentially
or necessarily godless in a lawyer's profession; and it leaves the
unprincipled men who sell their very consciences for gold, without
excuse, amid their systematic violations of honour, of integrity,
and truth.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    MINISTERS OF RELIGION.

    SPIRITUAL DEATH.

III. It may appear strange to occupy a sentence in saying that
Ministers of Religion should be Christian men; and yet the dark
history of the past makes it necessary to say it. Nay, so necessary
is it, that Luther made no over-statement, when he averred that
religion is never in such danger as among reverend men. Habituated,
as they are, to handle divine things, they are scarcely less
habitually in danger of doing so deceitfully. To be called upon
professionally to engage in sacred duties at all times and in all
states of mind--to be constantly contemplating truth in some of its
countless forms for professional uses, without applying it to the
heart, and life, and practice of the person contemplating it--to
expatiate upon the glories of redemption and the Redeemer, topics on
which the most phlegmatic heart may glow, without taking any personal
interest in them at all;--these, and countless other dangers, beset
the ministers of religion; these account for their frequent falls,
and the disgrace which is thereby brought upon the holy name they
bear. To urge conversion while we are not converted--to commend the
love of Christ when we do not feel it--to preach repentance which
we do not practise, and faith which we do not hold--to tell of a
Saviour whom we know only by rumour--of a Spirit whom we habitually
grieve--of a heaven to which we are not going, and an immortality
which is to be only one of woe to us;--to what can all that lead but
self-deception of the direst kind--to searedness of conscience--to
hearts hardened, and salvation rendered hopeless? Of all dangers,
those of an irreligious minister must rank among the greatest. We do
not limit the grace of God; but he who has learned to preach about
a Redeemer whose power /he/ never felt, about a Prophet who does not
teach /him/, about a Priest who does not atone for /him/, about a
King who does not rule /him/, seems not far from destruction. At the
same time, constant exposure to that danger lessens the sense of it;
and consciences which were uneasy at first, gradually settle quietly
down, like a ship which has foundered at sea--and all is peaceful,
because all is death.

Moreover, ministers of religion are not usually exhorted, warned,
or unmasked, as other men are; and hence their dangers are enhanced.
Professional devotion is apt to be all that they have; and they may
thus pass through life with a lie in their right hand. They can at
last tamper with truth without compunction or alarm; and the most
solemn functions have often furnished materials only for mirth.

But it is far from our object to do more than refer to this subject.
Let us only observe how insufficient mere professional punctilio is
to keep the heart of man, how easily all the withes of formality are
snapped when temptation assails. Religion has little to fear from the
open enemy; it is the pretended friend, the professed defender, but
real assailant, who weakens it.

    TRUTH ENTHRONED.

Yet while we do not dwell on the duties of the ministry, we cannot
omit the opportunity which a reference to the sacred office affords
for showing the necessity of enthroning the Word of God in the heart
of man; and for having every thought, and word, and deed, subject to
its control. It has been often said that without the Bible, London
or New York would soon become what Paris, Vienna, Rome, and Naples
are. In as far as the Bible is neglected in the protestant cities,
the saying is fast hastening to its fulfilment; and the clerical
profession supplies too many instances by which the remark may be
farther verified.

    THE REV. DR. DODD.

It might be supposed, then, that fenced round as minister's of
religion are by professional barriers, kept as they are, or should
be, in daily contact with the truth of God, and the things of
eternity, all would be pure, and lovely, and of good report. But
example after example can be quoted to show how far it is often the
reverse, and the case of the Rev. Dr. Dodd will amply illustrate the
remark. He was a prebendary of Brecon, and chaplain in ordinary to
George III. As a preacher he was celebrated and popular; he was often
called on to plead the cause of the London charities, and took an
active part in promoting their interests. He published a commentary
on the Scriptures, which Dr. Adam Clark, no incompetent judge,
pronounced "the best in the English language." To that work he added
various others, chiefly of a devotional kind, some of which still
hold a prominent place among productions of their class. But neither
the mental powers which produced these works, nor the eloquence which
he displayed, nor the spirit of devotion which appeared to some to
breathe through his volumes, nor his rank as a royal chaplain, nor
the claims and regards of those who were dependent on him, nor his
high position in society, could restrain Dr. Dodd within the narrow
way. He contracted expensive habits of living, occasioned, it is
said, by licentiousness of manners. Dr. Johnson, his earnest and
indefatigable friend, says, "His moral character was very bad;"
and in an evil hour, Dodd forged a bond for £4,200, upon his former
pupil, the Earl of Chesterfield.

    THE WAGES OF SIN.

The fallen man, no doubt, hoped that he would be able to meet the
demand when that transaction reached the stage which made that
necessary, so as neither to expose himself, nor really defraud his
former pupil. Dodd was unable, however, to meet the emergency, for
difficulties were increased, not diminished, by such a step. The
forgery was detected; the Earl of Chesterfield would not interfere;
the law took hold of the culprit, and the sad spectacle was presented
to the nation of one who had formerly stood so high, dying a
criminal's death. The man who had commented on the Word of God,
forgot to apply it to the regulation of his own life. Extravagance,
licentiousness, and fraud, were the stages by which he descended from
his elevation. He began by slight degrees to overstep the restraints
of the Word of God; and when he had once succeeded in setting it
aside, the descent was rapid, the ruin utter. He who attempted to
deceive his fellow-men, and for a time succeeded, had first deceived
himself; but his sin found him out, and on the 27th of June 1777,
the Commentator on the Bible, the author of several devotional works,
died at Tyburn by the hands of the public executioner. The jury who
tried him recommended him to the royal clemency. The city of London
petitioned the crown in his favour; and another petition prepared
by Dr. Johnson, and signed by three-and-twenty thousand, was also
presented. But all was unavailing; the adviser of the crown would
not recommend even a respite, and though Dr. Dodd cherished the hope
of pardon till the last, there never was a foundation for the hope.
Justice took its inexorable course.

    A DEATH OF INFAMY.

The view which many took of this culprit's case, may be represented
by a letter from Boswell to Dr. Johnson. He says--"I own I am very
desirous that the royal prerogative of remission of punishment should
be employed to exhibit an illustrious instance of the regard which
God's vicegerent will ever show to piety and virtue. If for ten
righteous men, the Almighty would have spared Sodom, shall not
a thousand acts of goodness done by Dr. Dodd counterbalance one
crime? Such an instance would do more to encourage goodness than
his execution would do to deter from vice." But neither this nor the
speeches, the petitions, nay, not even the letters which Dr. Johnson
wrote for Dr. Dodd to royalty itself, availed, and just before
passing to execution he confessed that "his life for some few unhappy
years past had been dreadfully erroneous." In one of his letters to
the king, the fallen man, in language which Dr. Johnson had prepared,
"confessed his crime, and owned both the enormity of its consequences
and the danger of its example." He, at the same time, said, "I have
not the confidence to petition for impunity, but humbly hope that
public security may be established without the spectacle of a
clergyman dragged through the streets to a death of infamy, amidst
the derision of the profligate and profane; and that justice may be
satisfied with irrevocable exile, perpetual disgrace, and hopeless
penury." Every effort, however, was fruitless. Large sums of money
were ready to bribe the turnkey to connive at an escape. A figure in
wax, representing Dr. Dodd, was said to have been conveyed into the
prison to aid the same object, but neither did that succeed; and,
according to Dr. Johnson, he died on the scaffold "with pious
composure and resolution."

It was, indeed, a spectacle which might have touched the hearts of
thousands, did aught but Omnipotent grace possess that power, to see
a minister of religion conducted to Tyburn in such circumstances as
we have described. We may deem the law severe, or think that the life
of Dr. Dodd should have been spared; but his melancholy lot is not
the less instructive. His whole history tells how feeble are human
barriers against human guilt.

And the consequences of this crime did not terminate with Dr. Dodd
himself. He had married a Miss Perkins of Durham, but, left in
sorrow, poverty, and disgrace, by her husband, reason forsook
her, and she died a wretched maniac at Ilford in Essex. Is it not
true that unthinking men, in pursuit of the wages of sin, scatter
firebrands, and arrows, and death, though they say, Am not I in
sport?

    THE ONLY GUIDE.

    THE TRUTH OUR SHIELD.

Here, then, is a case which thoroughly exhibits the necessity of
enthroning the Bible in the heart, and keeping it enthroned. There
is some reason to fear that the minister whom Dr. Johnson describes
as having "lived a life of great voluptuousness," had never felt the
power of the truth, even before he fell into the habits which ended
in his ruin. But, however that may be, it is manifest that after
Dr. Dodd had entered on his downward career, the truth was discarded,
and the deceitful heart consulted--not the Wonderful, the Counsellor.
The truth could have kept him steadfast. It could have taught him to
dash temptation from him, as Paul shook off the viper from his hand
into the flames at Melita. But Dodd forgot the Bible, he tampered
with temptation, and he fell. We say nothing of the extravagance
which the need of so large a sum as £4,200 on the part of a clergyman
betokens. We only glance at what was most probably his purpose, to
pay the sum for which he had forged, before it became due. These
and other things might be pled in palliation, but looking simply at
the act, who does not see that neither professional punctilio, nor
external barriers, nor a thousand earthly bonds can prevent man from
sinning, when the lamp to our path is extinguished--the Word of God
set aside even in a single transaction?

    GIFTS WITHOUT GRACE A SNARE.

Further: Dr. Dodd is known to have continued his professional
employments after his felonious transaction. Conscious as he must
have been of what he had done with his own right hand, he yet
continued to lead the devotions of his flock, and act as if no
crime had been committed. We do not refer to the feelings of a
minister of Christ amid such things; but we do say that the whole
transaction proclaims, in a way the most solemn and the most cogent,
that no secondary restraints will keep man from iniquity; they are
all like sand before the torrent, or flax before the flame. The
Bible, and the Bible alone, laid up in the heart, and blessed by the
Spirit there, can either make man right, or keep him so. In a word,
this example tells aloud that every human influence, every earthly
appliance, is weak against the heart of man, unless the truth of
God control it. Conscience will be warped. Reputation will be risked.
Professional standing will be presumed upon. Life will be hazarded.
The hearts of those whom we love will be broken; and only when the
Word of God is permitted to rule the soul, is the heart kept as the
fountain of the issues of life. Men regard such cases as that of
Dr. Dodd as doing injury to religion, and the infidel hails them
as a disproof. They are in truth confirmations of it, and prove
that only that truth admitted into the heart, enthroned and
maintained in the conscience as it demands to be, can rescue man
from self-degradation and moral death. Dr. Dodd fell because the
Bible was not his guide. He deserted religion and was ruined.

Another example points in the same direction, and may deepen the
impression of that of Dr. Dodd. At a recent period, a preacher of
great popularity gathered crowds around him in London; thousands
heard the truth at his lips; and he filled a large place in the
public eye. Accomplished as a scholar, eloquent as a preacher, and
graceful as a man, he wielded no limited power within a considerable
sphere. To his influence as a minister of religion he added that of
an author; and what he published was read by thousands. Not a little
originality of thought, and vigorous powers rendered him, in short,
an able advocate of the truth.

Here, then, is another man who seems to be fenced off from the world
by much that should have been constraining; that in this case also,
we may see how futile every subordinate influence proves against the
wayward heart of man.

    A FELON.

    THE GAMBLER'S END.

The divine referred to, elated perhaps by his success, began to
frequent the haunts of wit, and to associate with the literary,
merely as literary men. He laid aside, or he merged for the time,
those truths of God which alone can elevate, and went down to
the level of those who think they can find something to make them
blessed apart from the truth, and the favour of their God. From the
excitement of wit there is scarcely a transition to the excitement
of wine, and that followed next. By a gradual descent, that man, at
one time so ascendant, became a felon in his own eyes; he fled from
the pulpit which he had begun to desecrate, and sought an asylum in
Paris, where theatres--saloons of fashion--

            "The midnight revel and the public show,"

became his haunts. For years his friends could find no trace of him;
and when he was discovered, it was as one who lived by gambling--a
degraded, wretched outcast. While he lived in that self-outlawed
condition, a friend who had learned the truth from the fallen man's
lips, actually resorted to a /hell/, to make sure of the sad change
which had come over his former teacher, and to his horror he found
what he sought. He saw that minister of Christ taking part in the
orgies of a Parisian pandemonium, and hastened with an aching heart,
from that last retreat of the infatuated. That victim of his own
heart was at length taken ill at Bordeaux; a surgical operation was
declared to be necessary, and to escape from the pain, he blew out
his brains with a pistol.

Need anything be said to enforce the moral of such a case? Everything
but the Word of God controlling[*12] the heart is feeble against
passion, as a spider's web against a storm. Everything else is
fleeting as the sand of the desert, or veering as the mimic figures
which tell the changes of the wind. The Word of the Lord alone
endureth for ever, both in itself and its moral ascendency.

    BLIND LEADERS.

Nor is it only in insulated cases, among ministers of religion, that
such mournful truths are pressed upon our attention. In times of
religious declension, such sad demonstrations of the insufficiency
of all but grace and truth to tame the passions of men, may be seen
almost upon a national scale. There is a man, for example, whom the
grace of God has arrested amid a life of waywardness and guilt, and
rendered a signal monument of mercy. In terms of his own confession,
there was scarcely a sin which he had not committed, and as a fiery
duellist, he was, in the eyes of God, a murderer. But the truth
was at last felt in the conscience, and that man once so bold in
iniquity, sought the society of those from whom he expected help on
his way; with what result his biographer shall tell: "Other proofs,"
we read, "of the degraded state of the dominant party in the Church
(of Scotland) might be mentioned, particularly a Presbytery dinner
to which Mr. James Haldane was invited in Edinburgh, upon a special
occasion, and to which he had gone, hoping for useful, perhaps
spiritual, or at least rational conversation, on the topics in which
he was now chiefly interested. Instead of this, the company were
treated to bacchanalian songs, the folly of which was aggravated
into something approaching to wickedness, by an admixture of
ridiculous, if not profane allusions to their own sacred calling
and functions. The burden of one song was the prescription of 'a
bumper of Nottingham Ale' in the pulpit, at the different stages
of a Presbyterian discourse. If, in the hey-day of youth and folly,
while God was not in all his thoughts, he had been disposed to turn
away from the convivial excesses of his associates at sea, how was
he likely now to appreciate such approaches to the same intemperance,
in connection with eternal realities, amongst the professed heralds
of the Cross, whose duty it was to warn men to flee from the wrath
to come?"[37][*13]

    SPIRITUAL DEATH.

Painful and profoundly instructive as the incident now mentioned
is, we have yet more humbling evidence of the danger to which
men are exposed by their familiarity with sacred things. In the
autobiography of the Rev. Dr. Hamilton of Strathblane, we read,
"Many of the ministers of Scotland were genuine Socinians. Many of
them were ignorant of theology as a system, and utterly careless
about the merits of any creed or confession. They seemed miserable
in the discharge of every ministerial duty.... When they preached,
their sermons generally turned on honesty, good neighbourhood, and
kindness. To deliver a gospel sermon, or preach to the hearts and
consciences of dying sinners, was as completely beyond their power,
as to speak in the language of angels. And while their discourses
were destitute of everything which a dying sinner needs, they were
at the same time the most feeble, empty, and insipid things that
ever disgraced the venerated name of sermons.... They had no more
religion in private than in public. They were loud and obstreperous
in declaiming against enthusiasm and fanaticism, faith and religious
zeal.... But though frightfully impatient of everything which bore
the semblance of seriousness and sober reflection, the elevation
of brow, the expansion of feature, the glistening of the eye, the
fluency and warmth of speech at convivial parties, showed that their
heart and soul were there; and that the pleasures of the table,
and the hilarity of the light-hearted and the gay constituted their
paradise, and furnished them with the perfection of their joy."[38]

It is thus that men are degraded by the perversion of what was meant
to ennoble. It is thus that of all the piteous spectacles which
our world presents, few are more sad or distressing than that of
a godless minister of religion; such a man

                            "Is branded to the last,
            What atheists call him--a designing knave,
            A mere church juggler, hypocrite, and slave.

                  *       *       *       *       *

            The sacred function in his hands is made,
            Sad sacrilege! no function but a trade."

--When the standard-bearer falls, who will fight? When the Cross is
torn down by those who should point to it, who will believe?

    THE UNCHANGING WORD.

And such is the process by which God, in his providence, often makes
it plain that his own revealed truth alone can either reclaim man
from guilt, or keep him steadfast in the path to glory. We, indeed,
are prone to suppose that there is nothing fixed in that Word, that,
like the chameleon, it takes on the hue of every mind that studies
it. But the Holy One, on the other hand, demonstrates that his
Word is the only fixed thing which our world knows. Like himself
it is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; it either makes man
right and keeps him so, or it detects and unmasks him as hopelessly
incorrigible and clean gone in guilt. It tells of the anchor for
the soul both sure and steadfast;[*14] and when man drifts away from
that mooring, whatever be his position, he is rushing fast to ruin.

    MONUMENTS OF GRACE.

Every view of truth, then, calls upon man, whatever be his sphere,
to make sure that it is planted in his heart by the power of the
Spirit of God. Without that, the physician may degenerate into
an atheist or a materialist, whose hopes terminate at the edge of
the grave. Without the presiding power of truth in the soul, the
lawyer, nay, the very judge, may become a corrupter of public morals,
as multitudes have done--a patron of the false and the degrading.
Without truth enthroned in the heart, and a thorough transition from
darkness to light, even ministers of religion are only blind leaders
of the blind; they are clouds without water, carried about of winds;
they are tree whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead,
plucked up by the roots. And all these things press upon men the
necessity of enthroning truth. Time asks it: eternity asks it:
patriotism asks it: pure religion asks it; and he is willing to
throw poison into our wells who resists such multiform appeals.

    GOD'S WITNESSES.

But it would not be difficult to show, at greater length than we
have tarried to do, that in every sphere there have been men who
feared God, and held forth a testimony for his truth, often amid open
profanity or the oblivion of all that is sacred. Like Cornelius of
old, devout men have adorned the doctrine of God our Saviour alike
in the Army and the Navy. Among the accomplished devotees of Science,
all do not forget God in the investigation of those laws by which He
rules the world, or of those wonders which embody his wisdom and his
power. Among those who cultivate the Arts, there have been many who,
like the sculptor Bacon, might have caused it to be written on their
tomb: "What I was as an artist, seemed to me of some importance while
I lived; but what I really was as a believer in Christ Jesus, is the
only thing of importance to me now." In every sphere, we repeat, God
has had his witnesses, testifying to the power of his grace, it may
be in sackcloth, as regards men, but yet in the sunshine of God's
favour. And who shall tell what unthinking men forego, by neglecting
to do as these believers did--to make the religion of Jesus their
guide, and Jesus himself their Alpha and their Omega! He is the rock
that is higher than we. He is a sun and shield. He is life to the
dead, and wisdom to the unwise. It is by His might that we conquer,
and by His righteousness that we are saved. It is by His spirit
that we are sanctified--and are they the wise who ignore all this?

    MAN'S IDOLATRY.

Amid such meditations as these, it is one of the deepest lessons
which meet us in the history of man, that there is room in his heart
for every god but the true One. From the sun in the firmament down
to the meanest reptile that crawls, all have been adored. The foulest
human passions have been exalted to the rank of divinities, and
worshipped in gorgeous temples with costly parade. Even after God
has dwelt on earth as "God with us," we find men in millions clinging
to every god but Him--not merely the dead, but fragments of their
bones, are adored, as possessing power to bless. Now, were the lamp
of life admitted into the heart, it would instantly dispel such
debasing delusions from minds of every class. It would guide man
away from the rank to which sin degrades him, to that for which the
gospel is designed to fit us; and the peace of God which passes all
understanding is the portion of those who have thus hailed the truth
of God and discarded the lies of men; who have welcomed the religion
of Jesus to the soul, and dismissed the religion of nature as a blind
guide, the religion of Rome as a dark, debasing superstition, the
religion of unconverted men as fit only to lead us more assuredly to
woe.



                            CHAPTER VII.

                RELIGION IN OUR SOCIAL INTERCOURSE.


When the Word of God has obtained its true place in any man's heart,
it disposes at once of a hundred questions which were difficult or
perplexing before. On the one hand, when we have the divine standard
of right and wrong set up, it becomes immediately apparent that one
class of actions are right, are just, are necessary, on the part
of all who would make God's will their rule. On the other hand, it
becomes no less apparent that another class of actions are distinctly
prohibited. No man who believes the Word of God to be his word can do
these things.

But between these two, or the decidedly right and the decidedly
wrong, there are some actions whose moral character it is not so
easy to adjust. They are not so exactly described in the Word of God.
They lie on the debateable territory between the right and the wrong.
They may partake of the one character or the other, according to the
circumstances in which they are performed. They may be right, for
example, for me in sickness, but wrong for me in health; or the
reverse.

Now, it is generally among these undecided cases that a man's
principles are exposed to the greatest strain. No one who professes
to respect[*15] the Word of God can refuse to do what is decidedly
right, and as little can he refuse to shun the decidedly forbidden.
If he do not shun it, he is detected as offering to the Bible only
the mockery of respect--to its God only the semblance of homage.
He has extinguished the lamp of life, and deliberately walks in
darkness.

    THE SABBATH LAW.

In regard, for example, to the Sabbath law, certain things are
distinctly commanded, and other things are as distinctly forbidden.
There can be no doubt in any mind which has bowed to the supremacy
of God, or recognised his right of property in us and ours, that he
claims a seventh part of our time as his own, to be employed in his
service and in preparing for his abode for ever. Our blessedness here
and hereafter is thus involved in that law; and all objections to
spend the Sabbath with God, are suggested by ignorance of what is
at once our chief good and our chief end--GOD.

But it is equally certain that works of necessity and mercy are not
prohibited; and it is regarding /these/ that a man's principles are
put to the most decisive test. It is not possible to lay down any
rule applicable to every case, for what is necessity at one time
may be no necessity at another; or what is mercy in one case--for
instance, to the aged and the feeble--may be indolence and sloth in
others. Between the unvarying right, then, and the unvarying wrong,
lies the territory where men are tried as moral agents. Will they
use their liberty, or will they abuse it? Will they grasp at feigned
reasons for violating the Sabbath law? Will they be guided by
the necessity which God creates, or will they fabricate pleas and
pretences for themselves, under cover of which the law of God may
be broken, and the consciences of men entangled or defiled?

    THE EXCELLENT OF THE EARTH.

Now, our ordinary Social intercourse belongs to the class for which
it is difficult or impossible to lay down rules which are applicable
to all occasions. It is a divine maxim from which we cannot swerve,
that our "speech should be always with grace, seasoned with salt."
Whatever is offensive or unholy should not be once named among us;
but still it is difficult to lay down any rules which apply to every
case. On the one hand, there are men with whom intercourse the most
cordial may be cherished, nay, earnestly coveted. Where "they that
fear the Lord speak often one to another, while the Lord hearkens and
hears," the man of God may expect to find what will gladden his soul.
"The excellent of the earth" can impart blessings of the highest
order, for the law of the Lord is on their lips. But, on the other
hand, there are the profane, the godless, who walk through the world
trampling on the laws of the Eternal, and with these we can hold no
willing intercourse, unless we would catch their spirit, and at last
share their doom--"The companion of fools shall be destroyed." But
between these two classes there are various shades of character; and
it is in reference to /these/ that our difficulties in life actually
occur.

    THE ASSEMBLY OF THE UNGODLY.

There is one passage in the Word of God[39] which may throw light
upon this subject. A patriarch is speaking of certain cruel deeds,
which he contemplates with strong emotion. Aware that man cannot
be much in contact with what is immoral without being polluted,
or associate with the profane without learning profanity, he thus
expresses, in graphical language, the recoil of a pure or an upright
mind: "O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their
assembly, mine honour, be not thou united." He is referring to his
own sons, but he feels that his honour would be laid in the dust were
he associated with them in some of their doings; and he therefore
plants a beacon over the spot of danger, to warn us away from what
may end in death. He enforces the words, "Have no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness." He, in substance, asserts what Paul
asserted seventeen centuries thereafter, "Evil communications corrupt
good manners." He takes up the language of John, and says in effect,
"He that bids God-speed to an ungodly man becomes a partaker of his
evil deeds;" and thus we have, at least, a general rule for universal
guidance--The godly cannot /choose/ the godless for their associates.

To illustrate this point, we observe: Enter some societies. Listen
to the conversation which excites; notice the amusements which
exhilarate--the pleasures which impart the greatest gladness. Might
they not all exist in a world where the Son of God is unknown--where
no need of him is felt, and no reference to him made? It could not be
discovered from such social intercourse, that men are sinners, that
they need a Saviour, or that there is one pressed on their acceptance
by the God whom they have offended; nay, a single reference to these
things would cast a cloud over the scene, would turn its mirth into
muteness, and be regarded as an offence.

    FORBIDDEN INTERCOURSE.

Now, wherever that is common, the earnest Christian cannot prosper;
his soul must pine; it is deprived of what is to it like vital air,
and plunged into an atmosphere of azote. There may be cases where
duty compels some humble believer to witness such things, and
at the sight his heart must be sore pained within him; but where
the language of Canaan is not spoken, where the things of God are
not relished, where He, the soul, and eternity do not obtain the
prominence which heavenly wisdom has assigned to them, a child of God
will not willingly go; he will never go of choice; duty may compel,
but the feelings of the soul even in that case must be like those of
the Jews by the rivers of Babylon, when they said, "How shall we sing
the Lord's song in a foreign land?" Children are reared--friends are
entertained--sometimes the dead are buried, amid unequivocal proofs
that God is forgotten; and should not a believer in Jesus "flee these
things?"

    LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE.

Wherever we look in the wide domain of nature, we may notice that it
is an universal law--Like attracts like. We do not find a timid bird
associating with its natural enemy, a bird of prey. They fight.--We
do not find the gentler animals seeking to associate with the beasts
of prey.--We do not see the men of high civilization associating, in
common life, with the savage or the gross--there is always something
monstrous or unnatural where that universal law is outraged. Such a
thing is commented on as a marvel, a departure from the established
order of nature. Just as the fishes of the deep have their element,
and the birds of the air have theirs, there is a broad unvarying line
separating the different orders of creatures in the world which God
has made.

    REPULSIONS.

Now, to apply this to our present subject, that law reigns with more
than common force in the domain of grace. Has the truth of God taken
possession of any man's soul? Has the wisdom which comes from above
been consulted? Is God's revealed mind placed high above the highest
of all authorities? Then from that day, that man cannot repose, with
the confidence of cordial friendship, upon him who turns the truth
of God into a lie, or the authority of God into a name: there must
be a separation, however painful it may be. Does the love of Christ
constrain any heart and soul? Under that constraining power, do
old things pass away, and all things become new? Then, "unto the
assembly of the ungodly, mine honour, be not thou united," becomes
the language of that soul. Has any man felt that salvation must take
precedence of all besides, in the mind of a rational being? Then that
man cannot consent, or choose to consort, with those who are ripening
their souls for an undone eternity, in spite of the warnings of their
God. Has any man felt that the high concerns of an infinite futurity
demand instant attention, and adjustment on the earliest possible
day? Then that man can be no willing party to the wide conspiracy
formed by worldly men against that futurity, and all that is
momentous there. Has any man discovered that, to live only for the
present hour and its pleasures, is to sink to the level of the beasts
which perish? or that to be a coward before man's frown, and to have
no fear of God's, is to act an impious part? Then the man who has
made such a discovery will take up the language of the patriarch;
he will shun the company of men who prefer what debases to what
ennobles, for he clearly sees, or deeply feels, that their company
is contamination.

Since these things are so, the general law in grace is established
--There can be no friendship, /of choice/, between a godly and a
worldly man. Their hearts, their feelings and sympathies, cannot
coalesce upon the most momentous of all topics--God, eternity, and
the soul; and just as water repels fire, or fire water; just as the
vulture cannot and does not choose the dove for its mate, the soul
of a man who loves God, who believes in the Saviour, and who would
grow in holiness, is repelled and chilled by the assemblies where
these great realities are ignored. He cannot, without self-inflicted
degradation, walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the way
of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scorner.

    THE WISDOM OF SCRIPTURE.

But it has already been noticed, that there is nothing strained,
nothing extreme or overdone, in the Word of God. Whether it be
giving a command, or issuing a prohibition, it is always wise,
always considerate as to man's condition--if we may presume with
such a word, it is always judicious. We are more and more struck
with that fine peculiarity of the Bible the longer we study its
ever-blessed pages.

Now, in connection with our Social intercourse in common life with
men not godly, we have an instance of this considerate care in the
Word of God. In writing to one of the churches,[40] Paul had occasion
to lay down rules for their dealings with unholy men. He prohibits
such intercourse; and in giving the prohibition, he points to some
of the impious by name. After indicating their crimes--too gross to
be lightly mentioned--he adds, "Yet not altogether must ye refuse to
company with such men, /for then must ye needs go out of the world/."
In other words, the believer has duties to do in the world; and these
he must discharge. His principles may be put to the test; his heart
may be pained and vexed; what he hears and sees may distress or
imperil him; but still, even amid such trials, duty, /when it is
duty/, must be done. A man is not merely not at liberty--he is
forbidden, to flee from his post. He is to lean the more on God when
temptation meets him in the path of duty; but he may not forsake the
path. He has duties perhaps to unconverted kindred, and to those who
depend on him in life. He has duties to discharge to the Church and
to God, and these no man is free to forsake. On the one hand, the
most lovely earthly affection is to be put aside whenever it opposes
the will of God; but, on the other, we are to remember, that wherever
God has placed us, He will keep us--as our day is, so our strength
will be. But do we rush into danger unsent? Do we meet it while we
are in pursuit of pleasure, and not in the path of duty? Then we may
expect to fall; nay, we have fallen already. By tempting God, we have
unnerved ourselves, and shame and confusion may be the result.

    THE YOUNG CONVERT.

In connection with this, we observe that perhaps there never was
a young convert, who, during the first days or weeks after his
conversion, had not thoughts of fleeing from the post where the
renewing Spirit found him. Aware of its dangers, perhaps groaning
under its temptations, that young soul would flee, and seek that
in change which can be found only in the unchanging One.

Now, are the engagements of that young convert really sinful? Is he
violating God's law? Is he, for the sake of gold, or honour, or any
selfish end, sojourning near some focus of sin? Then all that must
be abandoned; conversion, while these things are retained, is a
thing impossible.

But, on the other hand, are the lines of that young convert cast only
amid trials, and not actual sins? Has He who appoints the boundaries
of our habitations, appointed ours where faith is put to the proof,
and the need of Almighty grace more clearly demonstrated? Then, by
that grace, that young Christian must stand; even there it may be
with him as it was with the three children in the tyrant's furnace
when it was heated seven times. The highest display of the power of
truth, the brightest trophy to the triumph of grace, is to see some
devoted believer holding fast the faith without wavering at the post
of duty, alike against the scorn of the money-worshipper and the
grossness of the unblushingly profane; and, blessed be God, his
grace is sufficient even for that.

    THE WORLD AN OBJECT OF PITY.

But farther: While the Christian, in his social intercourse, tries
to shun the society of godless men, he is to make it plain that /he
shuns, because he loves them/. We assume that that Christian /will/
shun them; for he is bound to that by a law both in nature and in
grace. But his motive is not that of spiritual pride. It has nothing
akin to the feeling which dictated the words, "Stand by, for I am
holier than thou;" nay, he is to show that he withdraws, because he
cannot countenance what is ruinous to man and opposed to the mind of
God. While we try to make religion felt, it must be the religion of
love, and not of haughtiness or of bigotry. We should remember that
the world is a poor jaded world, and calls for pity rather than for
wrath: its men have no resting-place either for the body or the soul;
it has no antidote for its misery, no remedy for its disease. It
is the shipwrecked seaman on his raft, trying to quench his burning
thirst with the water of the ocean, only to make that thirst more
burning still. It is the body weighed down with dropsy to the grave's
edge, yet seeking relief in what only augments its misery. And all
that should awaken pity for the world in our intercourse with it.
Be it made plain, that we can be no parties to the world's ruin; we
cannot trample on the Word of God to gratify the sinner's love of
sin. Nay, if we be Christians indeed, if we have in us the spirit
of Him who died for the ungodly, we must love the sinner too well to
countenance him in his ways. Our shunning of him, wherever duty will
permit, is to be our silent protest against what the holy God so
emphatically describes as "drowning men in perdition." Love, wisdom,
God, all demand that course.

    THE WORLD'S DEADENING POWER.

And, to re-enforce all this, let it be remembered that we cannot
associate of choice with wicked men without bringing our own religion
into doubt. Our relish for communion with God is blunted. Our love
to the holy and the pure is lessened. The world to come fades away
into dimness, and even a child of God is thus prone to catch the
world's spirit by intercourse /of choice/ with worldly men. All this
is notorious in regard to those haunts where the pride of life is
pampered, and where the children of folly squander in frivolity or
guilt the hours which are given to prepare for eternity and its joys.
But it is true also of more ordinary social intercourse; and the man
who loves his own soul will guard, by the grace of God, against the
first approach to the world's godless ways, as he would against the
first drop in a poisoned cup, or the first inch of a stiletto.

    THE TRUE LIGHT.

We feel, however, that we must repeat the warning--Be sure that you
display the religion of love, not of bigotry, in separating from the
world. Let your light shine before men, but be sure that it is the
true light--Heaven's.--There is a vessel sweeping across the deep. It
is night, and her hundreds on board are locked in the insensibility
of sleep. But suddenly there is a collision, a crash; her timbers
are breaking up; and the hundreds who slept so securely a few breaths
before, are now screaming out their agonies as they sink to rise no
more. And what caused that disaster and these watery graves? The man
at the helm just mistook the light, and, in doing so, hurried some
hundreds into eternity. In like manner, we may exhibit a false phase
of Christianity which shall tend only to ruin. It may not be God's
light, but sparks which we ourselves have kindled, and these may
only drive men nearer to destruction.

But hitherto we have done little more than attempt to show how and
why they that fear God should separate from those who have no fear
of Him before their eyes. We have endeavoured to show that a godly
man cannot go down to the world's level without dragging Christ's
religion along with him. We have been urging the followers of the
Saviour never to let the world think that the Christian and it
are the same in their likings and pursuits. If we leave the world
under that conviction, we have given an uncertain sound, and we
have therefore endeavoured to make it plain that there is a broad,
clear, deep line drawn by the Eternal God between the world and the
church--between the converted and the unconverted--the man who lives
for earth and the man who lives for God. They do not pass into each
other by imperceptible shades, like the colours of the rainbow;
they are separated like mid-day and midnight; they are different
in nature, in liking, in pursuits, and in end.

    THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS.

All this, however, is only preparatory to telling how the godly
should proceed in their intercourse with each other.--A prophet has
said that "they who fear the Lord speak often one to another;" he has
added, that "the Lord hearkens and hears," and assured us, moreover,
that "a book of remembrance is kept before the Lord for them that
fear him and think upon his name." Now, amid such employments, what
can be the topics but the common salvation? What can engross the
mind more than the death which Christ accomplished at Jerusalem,
when he finished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in
an everlasting righteousness? What but the love of the Redeemer, and
the mercies to which that love opened the way, can occupy such men's
souls? Holiness, and its author, the Spirit; grace, and its fountain,
God; its channel, the Redeemer; glory, and the Almighty One who made
it sure by his blood; that which is perfect "when the former things
shall have passed away;"--these and kindred topics may well animate
the souls and strengthen the faith of the people of God. It is amid
employments like these that their hearts may burn within them, like
the hearts of the disciples while they walked with the Saviour to
Emmaus. It is thus that foretastes of the heavenly joys are obtained,
thus that clusters are brought from Eshcol, and thus that the earnest
of the purchased possession is at once secured and rejoiced in. To
have a relish for such holy and hallowing employments, is a proof
that we are born from above; our soul's native land is there; and to
have no such relish is a proof that the soul is dead to the holiest
and the noblest things.

    TRUTH IN THE HEART.

But enough to have indicated this; none can completely fill up the
sketch, for "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered
into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them
that love him." Still, however, where the truth of God is in the
heart, it will well up. Attempts may be made to repress a gushing
spring; but it will rise at another place, and another, and another,
spreading verdure and fertility wherever it flows. Now, the truth
in the heart is a well of water springing up unto eternal life. It
waters the waste, it purifies the vile, and fits us for that home
where nothing that defiles can enter.

    MARRIAGE.

There is one sphere, that of married life, regarding which we offer
a closing sentence. Considering the importance which is attached to
that relation, and its mighty influences for good or ill, alike on
our time and our eternity, nothing can surprise us more than the
recklessness with which it is often formed. How rarely is the
guidance of the Holy One sought! How little is his will consulted!
How limited is the influence which eternal things are allowed to
exert in the choice on either side! And who will marvel, then, if
not a few make shipwreck of the faith and a good conscience, just
at the threshold of their marriage-chamber? Who will wonder to see
so many hearts broken, so many wives worse than widowed, so many
children worse than orphans, the promise of godliness given in youth
all blighted--the book, the house, the day of God, deserted? When
He himself has been left out of view, it is as easy as the downward
current of a stream, to abandon all besides.

But wherever the lamp of life illumines a soul, this relation should
be peculiarly directed by it. The results are for life, nay, they
are for eternity; and they who leave the Eternal God out of view in
forming such a bond, are digging a pit into which they are sure to
fall, or laying a snare in which they will assuredly be taken. The
grace of God may win such parties after all; but that can only be
in His own holy sovereignty, according to his word, "I was found of
them that sought me not," for the man who ventures here without the
guidance of the Wonderful, the Counsellor, is gambling with a stake
which may be eternal death.--Marriage was meant to double man's
happiness, and, when contracted in the fear of God, it accomplishes
his purpose; on other terms, its misery is unspeakable.

    THE HEROES OF TRUTH--LUTHER.

    CALVIN--KNOX--CHALMERS.

One closing sentence more. The difficulty and delicacy which
are often felt in ordering our Social intercourse, makes a wise
decidedness essential. To follow the right path implies self-denial;
and, what is often worse, it may compel us to shun those whom we
perhaps fondly love in the bonds of nature. Now, to arm us for this,
we should call to mind that all the men who have signally served
their God have been remarkable for decision--they were everywhere
spoken against; their names were often a hissing and a byword,
because they were decided for the ways of God against the ways of
man. Paul was thus decided, and we know that, for his reward, he had
to fight with wild beasts, and contend with wilder men. Luther was
thus decided, and Romanists, in every age and land, have poured forth
their enmity against him. Calvin was decided, and men have piled
calumny upon calumny in their attempt to crush him. Knox was decided,
and shared the same portion--he is sharing it still. Chalmers was
decided, and had to live and die in armour. The truth, and nothing
but the truth of God, was their guide--

               "Not the light which leaves us darker;
                Not the gleams that come and go;
                Not the mirth whose end is madness;
                Not the joy whose fruit is woe."--

The banner which the Eternal gave to be displayed, these men held
up, that all might learn to rally round it; and the times on which
we have fallen are such as require a wise decision, a holy boldness,
a close walk with God, like the times of these heroes of the truth.



                            CHAPTER VIII.

             RELIGION THE CROWN AND GLORY OF MAN'S LIFE.


There can be no doubt that one reason why so many keep religion far
away from the heart, is the supposition that it offers no present
pleasure. It holds out promises, but their fulfilment appears remote,
and, men fear, uncertain. It tells of enjoyment, but that enjoyment
springs from causes which myriads cannot comprehend, and the whole
appears to be mystical, incomprehensible, or unreal. Such pleasure
as the world can yield, the worldly mind can understand at once and
cordially relish. It is at hand. It even solicits attention. It seems
real and palpable as well as near. While religion appears to approach
in the character of a jailor to imprison, rather than of a friend
to set us free and spread out joys in endless succession before us,
the world comes with sparkling bribes and with congenial joys. It
promises freedom unbounded, and, like the silly bird which hastens
to the blaze kindled by the fowler to attract it to his snare, souls
in thousands are duped, and deceived; it may happen that they are
undone for ever.

    OUR JOYS.

But were it possible to impart to such minds some taste of the
pleasures which are enjoyed in the paths which are peace, it would
instantly be seen what injustice their views inflict upon the truth.
Its joys are /not/ projected into the distant future; they are nigh
to us, they are even in our hearts. It does not give us a stone
instead of bread, or a serpent instead of a fish--it is the world
which imposes in that manner upon all who trust it. When religion
comes to a worldly man to rob him of his gross or material joys,
he fears that he is about to lose his all--because he knows no joy
but what is earthly; and the very ways of God appear repulsive and
irksome; not a few would imitate him who cried, "Hast thou found me,
O mine enemy?" or, "hast thou come to torment us before the time?"
But what /can/ yield joy, if not the favour of God? What /can/ spread
sunshine through the soul, if not the sense of sin forgiven? What
/can/ impart true nobility, if not restoration to the image of God?
What /can/ give peace, if not the Prince of Peace? What /can/ dry
our tears or soothe our sorrows, if not He who came as a Comforter
to earth, and who re-erects the kingdom of God in the soul? Amid all
that plenitude of mercy, men may still persist in thinking that the
truth is a bondage, and that its joys are shadowy or evanescent; but
that can only be because their hearts have never bowed to the majesty
or rejoiced in the love of their God.

    THE GAIN OF GODLINESS.

And this repugnance to His truth is sometimes augmented, when
religion begins to be contemplated with more care than the world
commonly bestows on it. When men, for example, read the words
--"Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise
of the life that now is, and of that which is to come," their
perplexities sometimes increase. That godliness has the promise
of the life that is to come, multitudes may passively concede, for
they bestow no thought upon the subject. But when their attention is
drawn to the fact, that the promise farther embraces the life that
now is, men are not prepared to acknowledge the truth. Godliness
does not permit a man to ask, What will my fellow-mortals approve?
Its all-decisive question is, What has God said? It never pauses
to inquire, What will men think? what is current, or what is
countenanced among them? It goes at once to the fountain-head,
and seeks to ascertain what God has decided; what standard He has
set up; what aim or end proposed. That once ascertained, the godly
immediately feel bound thereby. They are in a court from which there
is no appeal, or a hand from which there is no escape. Now, as they
cannot do as others do, as they dare not pursue the world with the
intense avidity of multitudes, how can it be true that godliness has
the promise of the life that now is?

Moreover, are not the men called godly often hated, and persecuted,
and of all men the most miserable? Is not this their promised
lot--"In the world ye shall have tribulation;" or "The world shall
laugh, but ye shall weep and lament?" How, then, can it be time,
the question again and again recurs, that such buffeted men have
the promise of the present life? Nay, does not an apostle himself
confess, that, in certain conditions, Christians may be of all men
the most miserable?

With all these things, however, full in view, we still declare
that the promise is true, and that no man really enjoys this world
except the man of God. Whether it be in the Heart, that heart is the
happiest whose godliness is greatest; or in the Home, that home is
the most blessed where godliness is the most ascendant; or in the
Workshop, that workshop is ever the best conditioned, and the most
free from those things which rudely shock man's moral nature, where
the fear of God is most felt; or in the Market-place, that business
is ever the most healthy, the least exposed to panics or to failure,
where the lamp of life, the Bible, sheds light upon our path. Gain
without godliness is gold put into a bag with holes. It is a rusted
and a moth-eaten thing; it eats the flesh as doth a canker.

    ESAU.

Let us now, then, glance at religion in its general bearing upon the
life of man on earth. It is the appointed Director of life; it is the
Ornament and the joy of life; it is the prelude, the foretaste, or
the earnest of the Life to come.--Viewed under these aspects, it may
not be difficult to discover the folly of those who act in the spirit
of Esau, and barter away their birthright for pleasures which perish
in the using; or the wisdom of those who seek that righteousness,
and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, which are guaranteed to the
Christian by an eternal covenant.

As the Director of life, then, it cannot be difficult to show that
true religion is all-important.

    THE GUIDE, THE COUNSELLOR, THE FRIEND.

Can we, in the nature of things, ever find a wiser guide than the
only-wise God? Is not that man under some dire infatuation, who
thinks that he can discover a safer? But true religion, the religion
which the Spirit of God has embodied in the Bible, just consists in
being under the guidance of the Holy One, in thought, word, and deed.

Can we, in the nature of things, ever find a path more pleasant than
that in which the Eternal leads us? Now, the religion of truth just
places us in the narrow path to glory opened up by God.

Can we be sane, and at the same time pretend to select a better
standard, a better rule, a better aim, than that which God
prescribes? Now, pure and undefiled religion just consists in
making that standard, that rule, that aim, our own. Like the ship
on the ocean, driven by the wind and tost, it may often seem as if
all hope were gone; but if we be godly, that is, if we have religion
in the heart as the Spirit of God plants it there, One comes to us
even upon the angry waves, and his presence makes a calm. Whatever
be our condition, here is a Guide. Whatever be our perplexity,
here is a Counsellor. Whatever be our loneliness, here is a Friend.
Whatever be our tendency to wander, here is one at our right hand,
proclaiming, "I am the way." Could the heart of man be persuaded
to follow the Lord fully, would he consult only for an hour with
reason, and with common sense, thousands more might be found in the
path which leads to glory and to honour.

    THE SOVEREIGNTY OF TRUTH.

And let it be remembered that the directions which are given to guide
the godly in the way are authoritative and divine. We have more than
a royal road to heaven--we have a divine one. The man whose religion
is planted in the heart, is not guided by opinions, but by verdicts;
and these are the verdicts of the unchanging One. They are not
conjectures--they are the decisions of an infallible Judge; they
are the very maxims, the very laws by which we shall be tried, when
we stand before the great white throne, and the Judge of the quick
and the dead. Some men act as if they were at liberty to cancel the
decisions of God; to review them, and indorse or reverse them at
pleasure. In this manner, the word of the Supreme, which he cannot
alter without ceasing to be true, is made to bend to men's liking;
and if it will not bend, they break it. But the man who holds the
lamp, and is therefore truly wise, makes it a maxim in his life that
he cannot judge the Word of God--It judges him. He cannot bring his
religion to the Bible--He must get his religion from it. He does not
consult the sacred page with the view of welcoming or rejecting it
at pleasure. Nay, it is the sovereign umpire in every perplexity. It
is the director of his steps, and the sun of his soul. Guided by it,
and by it alone, that man walks under the direction of the Father
of lights, with whom is no darkness at all, to that abode where the
glory of God is manifested to all, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

    THE LAMB OUR LIGHT.

They who have thus surrendered their souls to the guidance of God in
his Word, have felt, in their own experience, how blessed it is to
have Him for their light; they never yet were in a position for which
the only wise God has not made provision; the lamp of life is always
trimmed by the very hand which lit it.

--One is persecuted for righteousness' sake; the man who hates the
truth appears anxious to "chase him up to heaven." But even then, the
ear of faith can hear Him whom the world hated yet more, pronouncing
a blessing over all who suffer in the paths of godliness.

One has had to follow child after child, or brother after brother,
to the tomb; but has he not been told, perhaps at the edge of the
grave, of Him who is the resurrection of the body and the life of
the soul; and that them who sleep in Jesus, God will bring with him
from the dead?

One has neither father nor mother, nor friend on earth to lean on--he
is absolutely and utterly an orphan; but is he not told, "When father
and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up?" Is it not added, "I
will not leave you orphans?"

    VICISSITUDES.

One has cherished dreams of happiness on earth--he is expecting
here what God declares we can never, never find. Well, He came, and
proved that his declaration was true; in mercy and in love he came,
though the lacerated heart felt that the stroke was sore. The gourd
withered. The frail reed broke. The shadow flitted away. The Word
of God was verified, and the happiness of earth appeared rather like
the lightning flash, than the steady shining of a summer day. But did
not He who wounded heal? If that soul had godliness, was it not made
apparent that the sovereign Lord of all had something in store for
it better than it was choosing for itself?

One is tottering very near the grave. However he may cling to life,
he cannot now be blind to the fact that the last resting-place of
man must soon be a resting-place to him. But just then, just there,
if that soul be godly, a light appears. It irradiates the tomb. It
illumines the vast unknown beyond it; and almost in the language of
a hosanna, such souls have passed away exclaiming, "To me to die is
gain."

Or, last of all, one has felt, what many never feel, the sinfulness
of sin. That soul has discovered how foolish as well as wicked it is,
to contend against Omnipotence. It feels that man forsakes his own
mercy by cherishing thoughts, or doing deeds opposed to the mind of
God; and that as well may we expect comfort on the rack, or pleasure
from the blaze which consumes us, as joy in that path which the Holy
God has forbidden. According to the Word of the Lord, that soul has
discovered what it is to be exposed to the wrath of God and of the
Lamb; or how like the career of the suicide, or the maniac, is the
course of those who live in sin unpardoned, with a soul unsaved.
But it has also discovered that the Word of God has devoted passage
after passage, or Psalm after Psalm, to the subject of pardon. In one
aspect, that is the burden of the Bible's lessons--to tell how free,
how immediate, how complete, is the forgiveness provided by Him whose
tender mercies are over all his other works. No entreaties so tender,
no lessons so plain, no commands so cogent, no promises so full, as
those which relate to the fountain opened for sin. The earnest soul
thus discovers that the word is indeed a light to man's feet, and a
lamp to his path. It is a light shining in a dark place--a directory
from heaven for man on earth--the very God of truth is there pouring
encouragement, or joy, or hope, into the heart.

    THE PILLAR OF CLOUD AND FIRE.

When we buffet with a baffling tempest, how gladdening is the glimmer
even of a lamp seen through the drift, telling us of comfort and of
home! When we have long been driven by the waves and tost, so that
hope has fled and exertion become paralysed, how welcome the haven
of our rest! When strangers have long been our only associates in a
foreign land, where no familiar face was near to greet us with its
smile, how pleasant to know

                            "There is an eye will mark
            Our coming, and look brighter when we come!"

--And how much more gladdening that Word of God which irradiates
the path of a believer, a pillar of cloud by day, a pillar of fire
by night! In joy or in sorrow, in youth or in age, in his home, in
his place of toil or of business, amid unceasing activities, or when
the sands of life are ebbing low, such a man has a directory at every
hour of need, a counsellor in every difficulty--enough to crown his
weary life with a portion of the joy of his God.

    THE HALCYON.

We meet with some who have manifestly no guide but passion, or
feeling, or human opinion. They therefore live in a state of constant
fretfulness and mental fever, at once troubling and troubled. While
others have an anchor cast within the veil, these men are driven
by the wind and tost. Some are kept in perfect peace, even amid the
agitations of life; they are like the little bird which is said to
build its nest amid the breakers of the sea, and is most calm when
perched on the crest of an angry wave. Others are like the restless
sea; and whence this difference? The divine directory is in the hand
of the one class; it is ignored or perverted by the other. The divine
mind is the mind of the one; caprice and the changing passions of a
troubled soul form the standard or the tyrant of the other. To the
one, truth is truth, in the heart, the home, and the place of public
resort; to the other, truth is but a name.--The bodies of those
who live under a directly vertical sun, reflect no shadow; at least
their shadow is under their feet, and these shadowless bodies are
emblems of the condition of those who live nearest to the Sun of
Righteousness: like the children of the light, they are preparing
for the world where there is neither shadow nor night.

    THE ORNAMENT OF LIFE.

But godliness is the Ornament of life as well as its Director.

And what is it that constitutes the beauty of a soul?--All that God
has made is lovely according to its kind. Look at the little flower,
and see what beauties beam upon us there. Contemplate the firmament
above us, the meet type of Jehovah's immensity; and mark the
surprising loveliness which is there. Or examine the winged insect
which buzzes around us, only, perhaps, to vex and to annoy--there
are more beauties and more marks of wisdom in that little thing,
than the science of man has yet been able to tell. Now, if even
these mean, these transient, and ephemeral things, are clothed in
loveliness by God, may we not expect a more exquisite beauty in that
immortal thing, the soul of man? It was once in the image of God;
it is capable of wearing that image again. And what is it that
constitutes its beauty?

    THE MISERY OF SIN.

We need not again reply--/It is holiness/. It is purity like the
purity of God. It is perfection like his perfection. Sin at the first
marred the moral beauty, and put all that is morally offensive in its
stead. But a new creation takes place. The original loveliness begins
to be restored. The beauties of holiness decorate the soul, and with
the restoration of holiness the restoration of happiness begins. Give
the unholy soul the wealth for which millions pant; give it an empire
like that of our sovereign, on which the sun never sets. Let all that
can gladden and regale be poured into the cup of an ungodly man. The
mere fact that he is unholy, would leave him deformed and unseemly;
his soul would be wretched, craving, aching still.--A nobleman
of ancient name and brilliant powers once ranked among the most
conspicuous of all who dwelt in our land. He was admired by millions,
and, for a time, was "followed, flattered, sought, and sued,"
wherever he appeared. But he was slightly deformed in a limb; and
when his eye fell on the deformity, even from the heights of his
fame, he was chafed and chagrined: it was more than a counterbalance
to all the incense which was offered to his powers. Now, that
nobleman was as signal for his ungodliness as he was for his powers.

    THE JOY OF HOLINESS.

But, on the other hand, place a holy soul in a dungeon. Let the new,
the holy nature which the Spirit of God imparts, be imparted to such
a man. With that in his soul, let the persecutor wreathe his chains
around him; let him "five times receive forty stripes save one;"
let all men forsake him and flee;--still, by the grace of God, that
soul would be made more like the Holy One by the very sorrows which
it encountered and the tears which it shed: and it is thus that
godliness becomes the ornament of life. As the rainbow would never
be seen were it not for the clouds and the rain, the beauties of
holiness would never shine so brightly were it not for the trials
which the Spirit of God employs to promote them. But /when/ he
employs them, the soul of man is changed into the image of the
Redeemer, from glory to glory. Though covered by sin with wounds
and bruises and noisome sores, it is created anew, after the image
of God, in righteousness and true holiness. The altogether lovely
One becomes the model of that soul; and ornament after ornament
is bestowed--such adornings as the eye of God can complacently
regard, for they are the work of his own Spirit: they indicate
the restoration of his handiwork, from the state of ruin into which
it had lapsed, to the state of beauty in which it appeared when it
sprang into being at his word.

It is holiness, then, that is the ornament of man. Without that,
no mental power, no constellation of gifts, can give beauty to our
spirits, as they are seen by God. Knowledge may be power; but it is
only the power of evil. Acquirements may be extensive; but they are
only like gaudy trappings on a hearse, or music in a dying man's
chamber, unless truth in the heart become holiness in the life.

                  *       *       *       *       *

But when Christianity is planted in the heart and soul of man,
it becomes his Joy as well as his director and ornament. This is
sunshine; all besides is gloom.

    THE VAIN PURSUIT.

Upon this we need not expatiate long. It is manifest as day to all
who have submitted to the guidance of reason illumined by the lamp of
life, the Bible, that Christianity introduces us to the highest joy
of earth or heaven, even joy in the Holy Ghost; and while destitute
of that, whatever he may possess, man is wretched, and miserable,
and blind. One man seeks happiness in sin; but did he ever find it?
Nay, is it not like taking fire to his bosom? Is it not like a wound
to his immortal nature? O, is it not a mournful delirium, to dream
of finding joy in that which caused the creation of a place of
torment--which doomed a world to misery--which digs our graves--which
lays us in them, and fills our homes from time to time with the voice
of lamentation and woe?

Another man seeks joy in wealth; but after he has all that he can
grasp, is not his heart still, like the daughters of the horse-leech,
crying, "Give, give?" As well attempt to satisfy the hungry body with
the name of bread, as the craving soul with material things. It was
created to be happy in God; and, without him, the universe cannot
fill the void in man's heart.

    DEATH-BEDS.

Another seeks joy in friendship, or in beautiful human affection.
But remorseless death comes: he strikes down the object to which
affection clings; and where is the bereaved one now? He is well-nigh
wearying for the grave, and so of all that begins and ends on earth:
its blossom goes up like rottenness at last. It is simply impossible
that any object whose root is in the dust can gladden the soul of
man, apart from the God who made it.

Has God, then, left us without joy? When we became idolaters, did he
leave us to our idols, to tears, and woe? Nay, there is blessedness
even here below; and the knowledge, the fear, the love, and favour
of God, is its fountain-head. In reconciliation to Him--in His image
restored--in growing holiness--in greater and yet greater love and
likeness to the Saviour of the soul--the man of God, the man who
is truly rational, finds the streams of his joy. God himself is the
fountain; but his blessings are the rills which flow from it: and
he who has not felt this joy, is still living among shadows, and
phantoms, and names. His is only the comb rifled of the honey; his
is the dream without the reality; his the corruption and the death
of sin, without the pleasures which flow from God into the soul.--Is
the land of his fathers a source of joy to the returning exile? Is
the breath of spring a source of gladness to man's fevered brow?
Is the face of nature a source of pleasure to him who has long
been immured amid the damps of a dungeon? Far more than all these
together, is a sense of God's favour to the soul which has returned
from its wanderings, to seek its blessedness again on the bosom of
its God.

    VOLTAIRE.

And it is to godliness, or at least some counterfeit of it, that all,
or nearly all, men flee for joy at last. Some, indeed, die like the
beasts that perish, without either fear or joy. Conscience is dead
before the body. It occasions no alarm; and such men pass into
the presence of the Judge perhaps denying his very existence. But
not so all. When conscience is aroused from its long stupor by
the nearness of death, how eager do some appear for the joy which
religion promises! how gladly would they now grasp at what they have
practically despised, perhaps for threescore years and ten! There is
one who has spent a lifetime in denying the truth as it is in Jesus.
He declared that he hated the Saviour's very name, and did all that
wit and powers the most diversified could accomplish to blot it
from the hearts and memories of men. That man hated the truth with
a perfect hatred, and gloried in his hatred; it secured for him the
applause of myriads who felt that truth to be fettering, and who
rejoiced in the help of one so gifted in their attempt to banish it
from the earth.--But that man is dying at last, and all is changed
now. Goaded by conscience, he flees to a poor superstition--he tries
to soothe his soul by believing one of the most enormous impositions
ever practised upon man. He eats what he reckons, or what an abject
superstition teaches him to regard as "the body, the blood, and the
divinity" of Him whom he had so long blasphemed and denied; and that
very superstition of that dying infidel[41] tells where it is that
man finds or tries to find his joy after all. It is just an infidel's
method of proclaiming, "Godliness has the promise of the life that
now is, and of that which is to come."

Or if we refer to a case less extreme than that of an avowed infidel,
the same truth appears--the same lesson is taught. God and his favour
alone can gladden or satisfy the soul.

    SIR WALTER SCOTT.

Another man, then, not less distinguished in his day than Voltaire,
is passing on to his great account. Millions in many lands have
admired his genius, and offered incense to his name. Wherever he
moves he is followed by applauding crowds; and if ever there was one
who might have been satisfied with the homage of his fellow-mortals,
that was the man. Princes deemed themselves honoured by being under
his roof. Royalty set him at its right hand. He added field to field.
He determined to make for himself a local habitation, as he had
already made for himself a name; and his mansion, once modest and
humble, grew into "a romance in stone."

But the fashion of this world vanishes away, and that man must die.
Before he leaves the scenes which his presence had long invested
with smiles, he must read a lesson to man--had man a heart to learn
it--more salutary and profound than any he had ever tried to teach.
The wind of adversity blew, and shattered his fortunes and his hopes
together. Death entered his abode, and one who had long been its joy
was carried to the tomb. Then affliction laid its hand upon himself.
The body was palsied, the mind a wreck; and amid all this, that man's
spasmodic efforts to resume his former self, rank among the most
touching incidents in the chequered history of humanity. But we must
listen to his own words to learn his tale of woe, and see how broken
is every earthly cistern when man seeks joy from it apart from God;
how shadowy and dream-like is every earthly thing apart from Him who
is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

    SORROW UNSOOTHED.

"When I think," says this idol of millions, on the eve of leaving his
home at the bidding of stern necessity and financial pressure; "when
I think what this place now is, compared with what it has been not
long ago, I think my heart will break. Lonely, aged, deprived of all
my family, I am an impoverished and embarrassed man."

Farther, he thus touchingly wails: "Death has closed the dark avenue
of love and friendship. I look at them as through the grated door of
a burial-place, filled with monuments of those who once were dear to
me, and with no other wish than that it may open for me at no distant
period."

And as if to show that all his anguish did not come from without,
the great Novelist says, "Some new object of complaint comes every
moment. Sicknesses come thicker and thicker; friends are fewer and
fewer. The recollection of youth, health, and power of activity
neither improved nor enjoyed, is a poor strain of comfort. The
best is, the long halt will arrive at length, and close all."[42]

    THE MIMIC IMMORTALITY.

Now, it will be noticed in these extracts that it is /the grave/
which closes the vista of that greatly gifted man; at least he never
refers to the bright ulterior of which the tomb might be the portal.
--"I have no other wish than that the grated door of a burial-place
may open for me at no distant period."--"The best is, the long halt
will arrive at length, and close all"--it is there that the mind
seems to rest. It never rises into the region of immortality. It
does not refer to that favour of God which is life. As far as these
mournful records tell, that soul had nothing to repose on but what
was soon to enwrap the body--the earth, and earthly things. Dazzled
even to blindness by the mimic immortality which man bestows on
man, the life and immortality of the Gospel were ignored. Steeped
in the possessions which only increase the thirst which some suppose
they quench, that man discovered and confessed that he was "an
impoverished and embarrassed man," when he might have exulted in
the unspeakable gift, the unsearchable riches of Christ.

    THE BROKEN HEART.

Now, it is thus that men sow the wind and reap the whirlwind, by
expecting that joy from things which are seen and temporal, which
can be found only in the things which are unseen and eternal; and
it is thus that the men who

                "Hunt their misery with a zeal to die"

proclaim to all who have ears to hear, that if we would have joy to
the full, and blessings such as can satisfy the soul, they must be
sought in Him who is our peace, "of whom and to whom are all things."
"Surely he is, or ought to be, a happy man," said a visiter at Sir
Walter Scott's abode. "When I think of what it is now ... I think
my heart will break"--is his own dirge-like response.

But it is not merely in the high concerns of eternity that a man
of God finds sources of joy. Even amid the cares and distractions
of earth, he has often a peace which is independent of all earthly
sources. He sees God in all events, and soon discovers that they
all work together for his good: however diverse in their origin
or aspect, they sweetly blend into one harmonious whole, of which
blessedness is the product to a child of God. Think of the complex
machinery which pours such wealth into the lap of our nation, by
multiplying manifold its productive power. How intricate in its
parts! how apparently incomprehensible to an inexperienced mind;
yet how simple, how exquisitely beautiful in its /results/! Or think
of the sunlight in which all nature rejoices. It can be decomposed
into seven primary elements, yet how simple and how lovely is the
product of their combination! And so it is in the various events of
providence: they all blend into one harmonious result; they are all
presided over by our Father who is in heaven; and they all pour into
the soul of a believer more real joy than the world can know, even
"when its corn and its wine are increased."

                  *       *       *       *       *

But the crown and consummation of the whole is, that godliness is not
merely the Director, the Ornament, or the Joy of this life; it is the
prelude to the Life that is to come.

What are to be our employments in heaven? How shall we be sustained?
How perceive, or feel, or rejoice? Shall we recognise in glory those
whom we loved on earth?--or is the Alpha and the Omega of faith,
the Alpha and the Omega of fruition? These, and a thousand other
questions, are raised by the curious mind; but the most that we can
say in reply is, "It doth not yet appear what we shall be." There
will be praise in glory. There will be following the Lamb. There will
be satisfaction with God's likeness. There will be the fulness of
joy and pleasures for evermore. But after all, the mind, while in
the body, is exhausted by the effort to comprehend what we shall
be: it falls back fatigued upon the words of him who once lay on
the Redeemer's bosom, "It doth not yet appear what we shall be."

    THE MILLENNIUM.[*16]

And yet there is a sense or a measure in which we can understand
heaven.--In our day we hear much of the Millennium. Churches
are divided on the subject. Brother differs from brother; and
it is difficult indeed, definitely to fix "what saith the Lord"
regarding it. But connected with the millennium there is one
subject, concerning which we may speak with perfect decision on
the undoubted authority of God. As the whole is composed of its
parts, the blessedness of the millennial state can be composed only
of the blessedness of individual souls. Now, would I introduce that
blessed era as far as I am concerned? Then let me make sure that
Christ is already personally reigning in me. Would I see the kingdom
of God set up in our groaning world; and would I like to fix a day
for its commencement? Then let me /this day/ make it sure that the
king of glory is on the throne of my heart, that "Christ is in me the
hope of glory."--Whatever the millennium is to be, or whensoever it
is to begin, it can, at the most, consist only of Christ's personal
reign. Now, he should be reigning at this hour in me. Be that,
through grace, accomplished, and we are in preparation for the
millennial glory; though the bright visions of some were turned
into realities to-morrow, we should be found meet to enter on the
joy of our Lord. "The millennium will never come," said Harlan Page,
"till Christians are more awake to duty."

    HEAVEN.

And so of the eternal state. Does Christ reign in any soul now?
Then, beyond the grave, that reign perfected will be heaven. Is
Christ stamping on us now the image of the Eternal, and restoring
what the fall ruined or effaced? Then that restoration completed will
be heaven. Is Christ on earth showing us the Father? Then beyond the
grave, we shall be eternally restored to the Father's favour; and
that is heaven, for his favour is life, and his loving-kindness
better than life. Our joy on earth--our religion--when it is a fruit
of the Spirit, is at once a preparative and a prelude to the joys
of heaven. They are the same in kind, and differ only in degree. He
that is holy in a measure now, will be holy in perfection at last. He
that loves the Saviour in a measure now, will love him in perfection
beyond the grave; here we see the bud, on high we shall partake of
the ripe and mellow fruit--all according to the words, "He that is
unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be
filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still:
and he that is holy, let him be holy still."

Let us try to find some one who is ignorant of the great processes of
nature; one of the untutored savages who still hover near the margin
which separates the rational from merely animal nature. Let him be
ignorant, for example, of the processes of vegetation. With the one
hand show him an acorn--a thing so small that it can scarcely serve
even for an infant's toy; with the other, show him some majestic oak,
beneath whose ample shade the beasts of the field and the birds of
the air find a common shelter. Then tell that degraded one, that
that majestic tree was once enveloped in such a little seed--how
incredulous, or how amazed, would that "Stoic of the woods" appear!

    THE BUD--THE BLOSSOM--THE FRUIT.

And the same thing happens in regard to the coming eternity.
Godliness is the germ, of which eternal glory is the majestic
result. Grace is the bud, of which heaven is the ample fruitage.
Like the darkling savage, we may be unable to comprehend the process
by which the one passes into the other. But our ability is not the
measure of God's. The one /does/ pass into the other; grace does
pass into glory; and he is wise, he /only/ is wise, who makes it
his business on earth to tend that germ, or screen it from all that
would crush or destroy it. He is wise who places it often in the
clear shining of the Sun of Righteousness, or under the influence
of Him who assures us that he will refresh it like the dew. The
delicate exotic will not otherwise grow; and for want of such
tending, ten thousand times ten thousand let it wither, and pine,
and perish.

    THE RESURRECTION.

    GLORY--HONOUR--IMMORTALITY.

It is a saddening thing to stand by the edge of the open grave, and
see dust returned to the dust. One, perhaps, with whom we have often
taken sweet counsel, upon whose arm we have leant, whose soul has
touched our soul, with whom we had all things in common, even to
the secrets of the heart, is entombed. The cold earth must hide
him, and even affection must hasten to bury him out of sight. But
that very body thus consigned to corruption is yet to come forth a
glorious body, when death shall be swallowed up of life. That which
is sown in dishonour is to grow in glory, if united to Him who is the
resurrection and the life, who has abolished death, and brought life
and immortality to light in the gospel. Its home for ever is to be--

                "The city of the golden pavement--
                    Seat of endless festival."

--And thus do we glance at the Spirit's fruit in the soul--or God's
religion, not man's--as the crown and consummation of life. We have
looked at it as it /should/ reign in the Heart: /Does/ it reign
there? We have studied it as presiding in our Homes, and leading all
who are there in the "way of the Lord:" To what extent has that been
accomplished? We have gone, with the lamp of life in our hand, into
the Workshop of the artisan, and tried to tell how it ennobles toil
by sanctifying him who toils. We have taken that lamp, and tried
to shed its light upon the Marts of business; and is it the case
that our merchandise and our hire are holiness to the Lord? We have
referred to what should be the ascendency of God's truth in our
Social Intercourse; and if it preside there, we are not far from
the kingdom of heaven; nay, we are within its sacred borders, and
the crown of all will be glory, honour, and immortality, through
Jesus Christ our Lord.



          FOOTNOTES
          ---------

     1  See Rom. v. 6, and compare Acts v. 31.

     2  Ps. li. 10.

     3  Ezek. xxxvi. 26.

     4  Jonathan Edwards.

     5  John Albert Bengel.

     6  Thomas Halyburton.

     7  Pascal.

     8  Matt. vi. 25-33.

     9  See the Domestic Constitution, by Christopher Anderson.

    10  Discourses on the application of Christianity to the
        Commercial and Ordinary affairs of life.--Discourse VI.

    11  See a remarkable little volume, "Memoirs of Harlan
        Page."

    12  1 Cor. iv. 3, 4.

    13  "It may look to some a degradation of the pulpit,
        when the household servant is told to make her firm
        stand against the temptation of open doors and secret
        opportunities; or when the confidential agent is told
        to resist the slightest inclination to any unseen
        freedom with the property of his employers, or to any
        discoverable excess in the charges of his management;
        or when the receiver of a humble payment is told
        that the tribute which is due on every written
        acknowledgment ought faithfully to be met, and not
        fictitiously to be evaded. This is not robbing religion
        of its sacredness, but spreading its sacredness over
        the face of society. It is evangelizing human life by
        impregnating its minutest transactions with the Spirit
        of the Gospel."--Dr. CHALMERS.


    14  Acts xviii. 3; xx. 34. 1 Cor. iv. 12. 1 Thess. ii. 9.

    15  "He lives in a cottage, and yet he is a king and a
        priest unto God. He is fixed for life to the ignoble
        drudgery of a workman, and yet he is on the full
        march to a blissful immortality. He is a child in
        the mysteries of science, but familiar with greater
        mysteries. That preaching of the cross which is
        foolishness to others, he feels to be the power
        of God and the wisdom of God."--Dr. CHALMERS.

    16  Job v. 3.

    17                            "Pulchra Laverna,
        Da mihi fallere, da justo sanctoque videri."--HOR.


    18  "We state it as our opinion, that though the whole
        business of the world were in the hands of men
        thoroughly Christianized, and who, rating wealth
        according to its real dimensions on the high scale of
        eternity, were chastened out of all their idolatrous
        regards to it; yet would trade, in these circumstances,
        be carried to the extreme limit of its being really
        productive or desirable. An affection for riches beyond
        what Christianity prescribes, is not essential to
        any extension of commerce that is at all valuable
        or legitimate; and in opposition to the maxim that
        the spirit of enterprise is the soul of commercial
        prosperity, do we hold that it is the excess of this
        spirit beyond the moderation of the New Testament,
        which, pressing on the natural boundaries of trade,
        is sure at length to visit every country where it
        operates with the record of all those calamities which,
        in the shape of beggared capitalists and unemployed
        operatives, and dreary intervals of bankruptcy and
        alarm, are observed to follow a season of overdone
        speculation."--Dr. CHALMERS.

    19  2 Cor. viii. 2.

    20  Mr. Hardcastle died in his sixty-seventh year.

    21  See Mercantile Morals by Rev. W. H. Van Doren,
        chap. iv.

    22  See Mercantile Morality, chap. iv.

    23  The Dutch florin is worth about two shillings.

    24  A span of horses means a team or pair of /matches/
        for a carriage.

    25  A livre is equal to about 10½d. English.

    26  See Mercantile Morals, chap. iv.

    27  See Dr. Boardman's "Bible in the Counting-House,"
        p. 132.

    28  /Hunt's Merchant's Magazine/, quoted in Boardman's
        "Bible in the Counting-House."

    29  Psalm ii. 9-11.

    30  "Ubi tres Medici, duo Athei."

    31  Lectures on Medical Missions, Lect. V., by
        Dr. G. Wilson.

    32  Gouge, in his "Surest and Safest Way of Thriving,"
        tells of an eminent physician of his day, Dr. Bathurst,
        that "all his Lord's-day fees were kept as a bank for
        the poor."

    33  See this quotation from the "The Licence of Counsel,"
        in Whately's Rhetoric. Part II., chap. iii.

    34  See Archbishop Whately's Rhetoric. Part II.,
        chap. iii.

    35  See Campbell's Lives of the Chancellors, vol. ii.
        pp. 429, 430.

    36  Campbell, vol. ii. p. 307.

    37  Memoirs of the Lives of Robert Haldane, and James A.
        Haldane, p. 132.

    38  See Lives of the Haldanes, pp. 128, 129.

    39  Gen. xlix. 6.

    40  1 Cor. v. 9-11.

    41  It was Voltaire.

    42  Sir Walter Scott. The closing chapter of his Life by
        J. G. Lockhart ranks among the most melancholy and
        instructive portions of our literature. Could aught
        but a divine power undeceive the sons of men, these
        chapters might undeceive them.



          TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES
          -------------------

     1  'Edinburg' replaced with 'Edinburgh'

     2  'Boerhave' replaced with 'Boerhaave'

     3  'dependents' replaced with 'dependants' for consistency

     4  'uare taght' replaced with 'are taught'

     5  Numeral 'I.' missing in text.

     6  'engulphing' replaced with 'ingulfing' for consistency

     7  'dishallowed'replaced with 'disallowed'

     8  'its' replaced with 'it'

     9  'enterprize' replaced with 'enterprise'

    10  Meaning 'load', it measured about 120 cubic feet varying
        by the item measured and changing over time

    11  'enterprize' replaced with 'enterprise'

    12  'controling' replaced with 'controlling'

    13  Quotations marks corrected based on original source in
        Footnote 37.

    14  'stedfast' replaced with 'steadfast' for consistency

    15  'respects' replaced with 'respect'

    16  'MILLENIUM' replaced with 'MILLENNIUM'





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