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Holy Spirit, working in our conscience, is opposing the evil spirit; and can it then be of little importance whom we follow? If we persevere in thus deciding upon right principles in all the small affairs of daily life, we shall gain strength to decide aright on the more important points: the struggle will have been made when the temptation was less strong, and therefore more easily resisted; and every victory will cost us less. We hear persons complain of the force of temptation, and of their trying to resist, but in vain : but what do we invariably find to be the case with such persons ? That they have given way repeatedly to this temptation, the strength of which they declare to be beyond their power: at first, they might, without doubt, have easily resisted; but by yielding they are now become weak. Take the instance of any vice, drunkenness, theft, adultery; may not all such sinful habits be traced to very small beginningsto single temptations—to the wilful yieldings to such temptations? Can we lay our hands on our hearts and say, we know not how we became entangled in such sins, or that it was by such insensible degrees that we were not conscious, when we crept into error? No! if we do say this, we deceive ourselves; for at first the conscience is tender, and it is rarely that that tender conscience has not been taught by the grace of God, and by his blessing on human means, to know the right from wrong. Alas! the number of those that sin from want of knowledge, are few indeed, compared with those who sin against knowledge. At the time, we knew full well that we were doing wrong; we concealed our actions from men, at least from those we thought well of among men.
And if God had spoken to us by a voice from Heaven, and said,
Why halt ye between two opinions?" we should have well understood the reproof.
It would have made too long a story, even if I could have told you all the smaller temptations that Tom gave way to in the interval that passed between his going out on the Sunday against his conscience, and his deciding to give up all the blessings and privileges of spiritual food and instruction for the love of filthy lucre ; but it was by the yielding to those smaller temptations that he was
drawn on thus to neglect the interests of his soul and think only of his body.
Let us then be warned by Tom's example to look well into our hearts, and see whom we are accustomed to follow in all the little concerns of our life God or Baal. Are we seeking most earnestly to secure the good of our souls, or the good of our bodies ? Are we most eager to become better and holier men, or to become richer and more prosperous men? Now is the time for decision and action; let us not halt between two opinions : but if the Lord be God, as we profess to believe He is, follow Him with all our hearts and souls and minds, for that alone can bring us peace at the last.
CHRIST'S HOLY EXAMPLE.
INSTANCES in which Christ exemplified each quality of
“Charity suffereth long."
“How often would I have gathered thy children,” &c. - Matt. xxiii. 37.
His answer to Philip.—John xiv. I, 10.
His forbearance with his disciples' ignorance.—Luke ix. 54, 55.
“ Is kind.” In raising the only daughter.-Mark vi. 25.
The only son.-Luke vii. 14, 15.
“ Envieth not.” Could not be tempted with the pomps and vanities of this world.—Matt. iv.
His words to the disciples when they were jealous of those who worked miracles.-Mark ix. 38, 39.
“ Vaunteth not itself." In desiring those whom He
healed, to tell no man.—Mark viïi. 26. 30: Mark v. 43: Luke v. 14: Mark vii. 36.
“I speak not of myself,” &c.—John v. 19. • My Father is greater than I.”—John xiv. 28, 29. " Is not puffed up." Born in a manger.-Luke ii. 7. Baptized by John.”—Matt. iii. 13. Washed his disciples' feet.-John xii. 4, 5. “My kingdom is not of this world."-John xviii. 36.
“ Doth not behave itself unseemly." Conduct to the doctors in the Temple.—Luke ii. 46.
Subjection to parents.—Luke ii. 51.
" Seeketl not her own. I seek not mine own will, &c.—John v. 30; vi. 38; vii. 18; viii. 50.
Pleased not Himself.—Rom. xv. 3.
Came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. Matt. xx. 28.
“Is not easily provoked.” When the two disciples wanted to call down fire from Heaven.—Luke ix. 52, 56.
When accused He answered not.—Matt. xxvi. 63; xxvij. 12.
His words to those who smote Him.-John xviii. 23.
" Thinketh no evil.” Towards those on whom the tower of Siloam fell.—Luke xiii. 1-4.
Excused his disciples for plucking corn on the Sabbath day.-Matt. xii. 1-4.
Rejoiceth not in iniquity.” Resisted Satan's temptations.-Matt. iv.
His words to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”Matt. xvi. 23.
His conduct in the temple.—Matt. xxi. 12, 13. Grieved for the hardness of their hearts.-Mark v. 5. Wept over the sins of Jerusalem.-Luke xix. 41, &c.
Rejoiceth in truth.” I thank Thee, O Father, &c.Matt. xi. 25.
“ Beareth all things.” (Or covereth) His words to the woman taken in adultery.-John viii. 6-11.
To his disciples, “The spirit truly is willing,” &c.--Matt. xxvi. 41,
“ Believeth all things." His confidence in Peter after his denial.-John xviii. 15.
His prayer to his Father.—John xi. 42.
Hopeth all things." “He that is not against us, is on our part.”—Mark ix. 40.
Conduct to the young man.—Matt. xix. 21.
“ Endureth all things.” He bore the shame and spitting.—Matt. xxvii. 13, 14. 29, 30.
* Thinkest thou not,” &c.—Matt, xxvi. 53.
“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"--John xviii. 11.
“Never faileth.” Loved his own unto the end.--John xiii. 1, &c.
Healed the servant's ear.—Luke xxii. 51.
“Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.”
A WORD TO THE POOR.
It is the constant labour of the pastors of the Church of Christ to urge upon the richer members of their flock the great duty of exercising liberality to the poor.
They are commanded to do so by the Lord Himself; it is made one of the highest duties of their holy office; they are not only ordered to give advice and counsel of this kind to their hearers; but to command them, in God's name, to charge them who are rich in this world that they be ready to give, and glad to distribute.” But it is astonishing how frequently their exhortations and reproofs are attempted to be answered, by a reference to the ingratitude shown by many of the poor towards their benefactors. Many have said that the more they have given away the worse the people have become; they have shown very little thankfulness, but a great deal of discontent and murmuring; often speaking evil of those who were trying to do them good, or else turning their gifts to some evil purpose, and abusing the charities established for their benefit. And the best friend of the poor cannot deny that there is too much truth in what is said. He knows that there are many painful disappointments to be met with by those who would do good in this evil world; that they will have much ingratitude to bear, and sometimes reproaches and calumnious words. The true Christian does not, however, allow himself to be discouraged by these things; he will not be weary in welldoing because of them; he expects not always to succeed, and will never give up his holy work, or cease to do good unto all men, and especially unto them that are of the household of faith.” But those who are less earnest and sincere very often feel disposed, on account of these things, to relax their labours, and to give up a duty which does not seem to prove as beneficial as they supposed it would. In this manner it cannot be denied that the poor do much harm to their own interests; and the object of these few words of advice to them is to lead them to see the evil they sometimes inflict on themselves. It has been often observed to the writer, by some of his poorer brethren themselves, who have said to him, that
It is not the rich who do harm to the poor so much as the poor
that do harm to one another." And this last is true in many respects. Not only does the evil disposed person very often slander a neighbour in the hope of stopping the charities of the benevolent and drawing them to himself; but by that means he, in the end, does great injury to himself also, by chilling the benevolence of his richer friends towards all alike. It is, no doubt, very wrong indeed to judge all for the sake of the faults and sins of some ; but it is a way of judging very common among all classes of persons; and even the most intelligent are not free from it altogether. No one would believe how much harm a single act of dishonesty, or a single calumnious and false word will do in altering the feelings of one class of people towards another. If one or two persons prove ungrateful for favours and benefits they have received, they frequently lose all further assistance from their benefactors, and perhaps their neighbours too will share, in some degree, the injury. But it is not only because they will lose by these things that