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at the foot of the precipice. Let us look, not only at the beautiful flowers which temptation presents, but at the slipperiness of the descent and at the abyss beyond; for proceeding, if we be not altogether destroyed, we may be sorely bruised, and mangled, and crippled -for life. Let us keep as far as we can from temptation. We are to watch and pray that we enter not into it. There is a strange fascination about some forms of sin, some such fascination as there is to the poor moths in the lighted candle. How often men have said to themselves, “ I will not yield to this temptation; I am not so foolish as that: but I will just enjoy the pleasure of toying with it.” Let us think, rather, that even to look at it is perilous. “ Avoid it ; pass not by it ; turn from it, and pass away.” Temptation sometimes comes upon us suddenl . lf flight be possible, let us Hee; and if it be impossillile, let us, whilst we summon up our own most stedfast resolves, lift up our earnest cry for help to God. Duty may sometimes require that we place ourselves in circumstances where temptation is especially strong; just as duty requires that the surgeon, and the sailor, and men of other professions, expose themselves to physical peril. But let us be sure that it is our duty; not only that it is pleasant or advantageous, but that it is our duty ; and just as a man exposed to bodily danger would be all eye and ear, and deem it madness to be as secure as in ordinary circumstances; so, when exposed to temptation of unusual strength, should we be all the more watchful and all the more prayerful, that we may be kept from evil. Good old Dr. Watts's rhyme contains a moral, not only for children, but for-all: .
“ Satan finds some mischief still
An old Tuscan proverb says, “ A lazy man is the devil's bolster.” The sad story of David's great fall opens thus: “ And it came to pass after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel, and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbath. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.” Does it not seem as though, preferring the ease and the luxuries of his palace to the hardships of the camp, Satan took the advantage, and led the monarch into grievous sin? A great
safeguard against temptation is to have head and hands fully occupied with useful and honourable work.
Thus watchful unto our prayer, we may confidently rely on God's gracious promises and expect that he will deliver us from evil.
Let us moreover extend the prayer, not only to outward evil taking the form of temptation, but to all the evil that is within. Let our prayer be, ".Lord, deliver me from my pride, from my worldliness, from all that is abominable in thy sight and destructive of my peace, deliver me from all evil."
He can deliver us; for he can send his Holy Spirit into our hearts, to overcome the love of sin, and to renew us in his own likeness, and so to make us meet for his holy heaven. Let David's prayer be ours, day by day, in spirit, if not in the very words, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
"A BIT OF MY MIND."
"I Was fairly roused, I can tell you; and I gave him a bit of my mind."
John Cosens had just been telling his friend, George Hardy, about a dispute which had arisen between himself and his brother-in-law, William Sheldon, in settling the affairs of their father-in-law, who had died recently. Everything had been arranged satisfactorily, with the exception of a claim which Sheldon had made for travelling expenses, incurred in looking after the property and proving the will. Cosens thought his brother-in-law very shabby to make the claim. Sheldon insisted that it was just; and neither would yield an inch. High words had passed, the nature of which may be guessed from the above sentence with which Cosens concluded his account of what had passed.
"You gave him a bit of your mind, did you, John?" said Hardy, who had listened coolly, but attentively, to all Cosens had said. "Which bit of your mind was it you gave him—the worst bit or the best bit?"
"Which bit? which bit?" replied Cosens, scarcely seeing at first the drift of his friend's question; "why I made a clean breast of it."
"1 suppose you mean, Jolm, that you raked up all the faults you had ever found in him, and that you said a great rndny unpleasant and angry things?"
"Well, that's about it," said Cosens. "But then, it was so mean of him; and besides, he said some things which aggravated me a good deal, and which I shan't forget in a hurry."
"And did you say anything that was kind, or admit that there was anything good about him?"
"Not I indeed," answered Cosens, with a somewhat scornful toss of his head; "it was no time to be paying compliments."
"So," continued Hardy, "you left him with the impression that you believed him to be a selfish, scheming, covetous fellow, without a single redeeming feature in his whole character."
"I did not say that."
"But for anything you did say, he might understand you to mean that."
John hesitated, and then said, " Well, I hardly think he would; but he might, certainly."
"And so, John, for the sake of a few pounds, you allowed yourself to be hurried away into bitter anger; you said things which your better judgment must have already condemned, though it was only yesterday you said them— things which may rankle for months and even years, and which may never be forgotten. Do you remember what the wise man says in the book of Proverbs about making a clean breast of it?"
"I never saw any such words in the whole book," replied Cosens.
"No; but there are these; and they amount to pretty much the same thing: 'A fool uttereth all his mind.' Don't you think that what you said was very foolish and very wrong?"
Cosens was a good deal disappointed. Although he began to have strong misgivings about what had been done, he had expected that Hardy would take his view of the matter and fully espouse his quarrel. Hardy saw this; but he resolved to act the part of a true friend.
"You both call yourselves Christians, John, and you belong to the same church. Have you thought about that?"
"Yes, I have," replied Cosens; "and I don't think I can meet him at the communion again, and I don't think I can sit comfortably in the next pew to him. I shall have to go somewhere else."
"And how long is this to last?" "I don't know; but I suppose till Sheldon does what's right."
"Well, John, I'm afraid you're doing very wrong. It would not be right for me to give a decided opinion about the quarrel; for I've heard only your side; but from what you yourself have told me, I am afraid you have sadly forgotten yourself. Do you think the Lord Jesus approves of what you have done?"
Further conversation followed. For some time, Cosens was very obstinate; but by-and-bye, the remonstrances of his friend prevailed, and he admitted that he had been much to blame.
"But what's to be done?" he inquired in some perplexity."
"I'll tell you what I think you should do," replied Hardy; "go at once to Sheldon and acknowledge what you have admitted to me. If you can't come to a settlement of the point in dispute between yourselves, refer them to a third party, and agree to abide by his decision,
It was one of the most difficult things Cosens ever had to do; but he went straight from Hardy's house to Sheldon's. "I've come," he said, "to tell you how sorry I am for what passed last night. I hope you'll forgive me." Sheldon's eyes filled with tears, as he grasped Cosens' hand. "They were hard things you said," he replied, when he could command words; "but I did not think that when you came to think about them, you would stand by a tithe of them. I am afraid, too, I said some things I should not have said, and I must beg you to forgive me."
They knelt down and prayed together. They have been true brothers ever since.
The matters in dispute were easily settled when they discussed them in the spirit of love. There was no need to call in anybody else. It was a lesson for life to both of them.
PBECIOUS TRUTHS IN I>LALN WORDS.*
CONFLICT HERE, REST HEREAFTER.
"For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh."
—Gal. v. 17. It is better to "hunger and thirst after righteousness" than to he filled with sinful pleasures; better to be fighting and struggling against the lusts of the flesh than to be peacefully led captive by them; better to have no peace, day or night, as we strive to " crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts," than to live and die at rest in our sins. A dead body is perfectly still, and feels no pain. But who would not rather suffer pain and trouble than lie insensible like a corpse? Let Christians remember this, when tempted to complain of their hard fight with tempta- j tion. The struggle may be painful and severe, but it is necessary. This inward conflict is a sign of life. When we "were dead in trespasses and sins," we were "led captive by the devil at his will," and made no resistance," though he was dragging us down to eternal death. Let us thank God that he has given us his Holy Spirit, and led us to strive against the world, the flesh, and the devil. May he help us still to fight the good fight of faith, and continue stedfast unto the end. We shall have perfect peace in heaven. There the flesh will no longer lust against the spirit, for we shall be made perfect in love and holiness.
'Tis conflict here below;
'Tis triumph there, and peace:
In heaven our conflicts cease.
'Tis gloom and darkness here;
GODS WAY OF PEACE.
"The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing."—
True religion is true happiness. No one has so good a right to be peaceful and joyful as the Christian. He has
* From a volume under this title just published, in very large type, by the Religious Tract Society.