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and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” Matt. vi: 25-30.
What a striking picture does he give of self-deception, in the house built on the sand ! “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock : and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand ; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell : and great was the fall of it.” Matt. vii. 24—27.
A similar example is found in the description given of the final judgment.
56 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world : for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in ; naked, and ye
was sick, and ye visited
in prison, and ye came unto me, &c. Matt. XXV: 31–46.
Our Saviour also seized on well-known facts, to silence the captious, and convince the prejudiced and the ignorant. Mark his defence of his own conduct on healing on the Sabbath. “ Which of you shall have an ox or an ass fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath-day ? “Doth not each one of you on the Sabbath, loose his ox or his ass froin the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day ?" Luke xiii: 15, 16; xiv : 52.
How adroitly does he expose and rebuke the captiousness of the Pharisees and Sadduces who demanded “a sign from heaven," in proof of his having come from God to introduce the reign of the Messiah. “When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather; for the sky is red : and in the morning, It will
be foul weather to-day, for the sky is red and lowering. Oye hypocrites ! ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" Matt. xvi: 2, 3.
With what power did he apply a few facts from sacred his. tory, to his hearers in Nazareth, who were disposed to say, “Physician, heal thyself," and tauntingly to inquire, after all “the gracious words which had proceeded out of his mouth,” “Is not this the carpenter's son ?” “Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, . when great famine was throughout all the land: but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel, in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.” Luke iv: 25--29.
The Bible often teaches by narratives; and whether real or imaginary, they teach the same thing with equal pertinency and force. In the description of the Pharisee and Publican, how clear the idea, how keen the reproof of self-righteousness ! “Two men when went up into the temple to pray ; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself; God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me, a sinner.' I tell you this man went down to his house, justified rather than the other : for every one that exalteth himself, shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke xviii: 10—14.
The parable of the good Samaritan compelled even the captious lawyer to acknowledge who was his neighbor; those of the single sheep gone astray, the lost piece of money, and the penitent prodigal, must have fully answered their original design of vindicating the kind attentions of our Saviour to publicans and sinners.
We cannot help quoting from the Old Testament, the beau tiful and touching parable which Nathan employed with so much success in bringing David to repentance for his aggravated guilt in the matter of Uriah. "And the Lord sent Nathan unto David.
And he came unto him, and said unto him; there were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: but the poor man had nothing save one little ewe-lamb, which he had bought and nourished up; and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock, and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the
poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, 'As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this shall surely die. And he shall restore the lamb four-fold, because he did this this thing, and because he had no pity.' And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord." II. Sam. i: 7--13.
We have taken from the Bibie examples enough to illustrate the method of instruction attempted in the work before us; but we will extract from his own pages a few specimens of our author's style and general manner.
Take his illustration of the manner in which secret and siothered guilt operates:
" It is one of the most remarkable properties of the human mind, that a consciousness of guilt may remain a long time dormant in it,-producing no uneasiness and no suffering, -and yet, after the lapse of years it will burst forth with most terrific power, and drive the victim of it to actual despair. This has often been the case. A man who has committed sin, is like one bitten by a mad dog. The momentary pain is slight. The wound soon heals. It may keep up from time to time, a slight irritation, just enough to remind him occasionally of the occurrence; but ordinarily it is forgotten, and he goes on with his daily amusements and pleasures, entirely unconscious of danger.
But though the wound is healed, the dreadful infection which it has admit. ed to his system is circulating insidiously there. The poison glides harmlessly along his veins and arteries for weeks, months, years. It does not mar his enjoyments or disturb his repose, but still the dreadful enemy, though slumbering, is there. At last, in some unexpected hour, it rises upon him in all its strength, and overwhelms and conquers him entirely. It brings agony to his body,
and indescribable horror to his soul, and hurries him through the most furious paroxisms of madness and despair, to inevitable death.
And it is just so with sin. A murderer, for example, will often sleep ten, twenty, or thirty years over his crime. The knowledge of it will lie in his heart like a lurking poison, during all that time. He will recollect it without compunction, and look forward to the future without alarm. At last, howev. er, some circumstance, often apparently trifling, will awaken him. He will begin to feel his guilt; conscience will suddenly rise upon him like an armed man, and overwhelm him with all the horrors of remorse and despair. Perhaps if one had tried a few weeks before, to make him feel his guilt, it would have been vain, he was so utterly hardened in it; so dead in trespasses and
sins. But now you will find it far more difficult to allay or to mitigate the storm, which has, perhaps, spontaneously arisen.
Every person, therefore, who commits sin, takes a viper into his bosom, a piper which may delay stinging him for many years, but it will sting him at last, unless it is removed. He is unaware of the misery that awaits him, but it must come, notwithstanding. This is particularly the case with sins against God; and the wonder is, that the sense of guilt will remain so entire. ly dormant as it often does, so that no warniny, no expostulation, no remon. strance will disturb the death-like repose, and yet at last the volcano will often burst forth spontaneously, or from some apparently trifling cause, and overwhelm the sinner in suffering.” pp. 107-9.
We quote his account of the way in which the Bible should be studied every day for practical purposes :
“ Consider, now, another case. In an unfurnished and an almost unfin. ished little room in some crowded alley of a populous city, you may see a lad who has just risen from his humble bed, and is ready to go forth to his daily duties. He is a young apprentice,-and must alınost immediately go forth to kindle his morning fire, and to prepare his place of business for the labors of the day. He first, however, takes his little testament from his chest,and breathes, while he opens it, a silent prayer, that God will fix the lesson that he is about to read, upon his conscience and his heart. " Holy Spirit!" whispers he, " let me apply the instructions of this book to myself and let me be governed by it to-day-so that I may perform faithfully all my duties to myself, to my companions, to my master, and to Thee." He opens the book, and reads, perhaps, as follows : - Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.” He pauses--his faithful self-applying thoughts run through the scenes through which he is that day to pass, and he considers in what cases this verse ought to influence him. • Be kindly affectioned! I must' treat my brothers and sisters, and all my companions kindly to-day. I must try to save them trouble and to promote their happiness. In honor preferring one another.' As he sees these words, he sighs to think how many times he has been jealous of his fellow apprentices, on account of marks of trust and favor shown them, or envious of the somewhat superior privileges enjoyed by those older than himself, and he prays that God will forgive him, and make him humble, and kind-hearted in future to all around him.
“6 Not slothful in business ; fervent in spirit ; serving the Lord,'”. He stops to think whether he is habitually industrious—improving all his time in such a manner as to be of the greatest advantage to his master ;-whether he is fervent in spirit, i e. cordially devoted to God's service, and full of benev. olent desire for the happiness of all ;-whether he serves the Lord in what he does, i. e. whether all his duties are discharged from motives of love to his Maker and Preserver. While he thus muses, the fire burns. He shuts his book-asks God to protect him, as he now must go out into the labors and temptations of the day. God does bless and protect him. He has read, in. deed, but tro verses ;—but these verses he carries in his heart, and they serve as a memorial of kindness and love to man, and fidelity towards God, which accompanies him wherever he goes, and keeps him safe and happy. The Bible is thus a light to his feet and a lamp to his paths. Which, wow of these, do you think reads the Bible aright?" pp. 210–11.
Our author deals inuch in "imaginary cases"; and they are generally pertinent, and sometimes extremely vivid. We cannot extract any of his stories, but will give enough of his "cases" to show his manner of using them.
“A boy knows, I will imagine, that he has an irritable spirit. He wishes to cure himself of it. I will suppose that he has taken the two steps I have already described, and now as the morning comes, and he is about to go forth to the exposures of the day, we may suppose him to hold the following conversation with his father or some other friend :
Boy. “Now I have made a great many resolutions, and I am really de. sirous of not becoming angry and impatient to-day. But I always do, and I am afraid I always shall.”
Friend. “ Do you always? Do you get angry every day."
“Why, I almost always get angry playing marbles. George doesn't play fair, and í get angry with him, and he gets angry with me.'
“Do you always get angry, playing marbles ?" “ We do very often."
"Then I advise you to avoid playing marbles altogether. I know you like to play, but if you find it affords too great a temptation for you to resist, you must abandon it, or you will not cure yourself of your fault.' What other temptations do you have?"
“Why, I get put out with my sums at school.'
Why, I get impatient and vexed because I cannot do ihem, and then I get angry with them."
* What, with the sums !".
“ Yes, with the sums, and the book, and the slate, and every thing else. I know it is very foolish and wicked.”'
“Well, now I advise you to take your slate and pencil to-day, and find some difficult sum, such an one as you have often been angry with, and sit down calmly to work, and see if you cannot go through it, and fail of doing it, and yet not feel vexed and angry. Think, before you begin, how sad it is for you to be under the control of wicked passions, and ask God to help you, and then go on, expecting to find difficulty, and endeavoring to meet it with a calm and patient spirit. If you succeed in this, you will really im. prove while you do it. By gaining one victory over yourself, you will make another more easy."
6. Which do you think is the greatest temptation for you, to play marbles or to do sums *
" Why, I think playing marbles, because the boys don't play fair."
“Well, now I wish you to practice the easiest lesson first. Conquer yourself in your arithmetical temptation first, and then perhaps you can encounter the other, And I wish you would watch yourself to-day, and observe what are the trials which are too great for you to bear, and avoid them until you have acquired more moral strength. But do not fee from any temptation which you think you can resist. By meeting and resisting it, you will advance in your course."
pp. 269–71. The following case is designed to illustrate the influence of trial in detecting the heart:
"A Christian mother had an only child, whom she ardently loved. The mother was an influential member of the church, and was ardently interested in maintaining a high Christian character, and studying faithfully and perseveringly religious truth. She became much interested in the view which the Bible presents of the Divine Sovereignty. She used to dwell with delight upon the contemplation of God's universal power over all. She used to rejoice, as she thought, in his entire authority over her ;-she took pleasure in reflecting that she was completely in his hands, soul and body, for time and for eternity, and she wondered that any person could find any source of difficulty or embarrassment in the Scripture representations on this subject.