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as the unsubdued passions of its professors. Edmund, however, had no time to meditate on this subject; he now felt himself called upon to act, and to shew that part of his character which hitherto had not appeared, namely, courage and decision, of which few boys had so large a share. He walked up to the combatants, and seizing the arm of Francis with a firm grasp, he warded off all opponents with a strength which was found irresistible, saying, at the same time, with holy and invincible firmness, “ I thought that you, Parnel, were a professor of the religion of the meek and humble Jesus ! What then have you to do with combats of this kind?”
“And who are you?” returned Francis, with considerable agitation; “who are you, who take the name of Christ in this manner?”.
“Edmund Stephens,” replied the other: “and I require you either to give up your pretensions to religion, or to relinquish this mode of conduct.”
While these few words were passing between Parnel and Stephens, the latter had to endure several blows from Parnel's adversaries; from which blows he only attempted to defend himself by keeping them off from his face, and by saying to the ringleader, “Let me alone, Johnson; you know that I never fight.”
By this time the whole school were gathered round the three boys, and all with one accord called upon Johnson to let Edmund Stephens alone. And some of the nobler spirits among them said, “We dare to call any boy coward who attacks Stephens and his Bible; but as to Parnel and his religion, they are fair play. Parnel can give blow for blow with the best of us; he can use the same weapons as we do.”
Parnel, who had by this time been brought somewhat to reason by the pleadings of Stephens, reddened violently on hearing these last contemptuous expressions concerning himself and his religion, and was about to break out again into some bitter invectives in return, when Edmund Stephens, who had never let his arm go, drew him from the crowd, and led him to a retired part of the play-ground. There he conversed with him very seriously upon his conduct. “You profess to be more than a nominal Christian, Parnel,” said Edmund: you aware what such a profession requires of you, and
how much injury you may do to the souls of your schoolfellows by conduct so disgraceful, united with professions so high ?”
Young Parnel endeavoured to excuse his conduct, which he well knew wanted excuse, by representing how much he had been provoked.
“Provoked !” repeated Stephens; "and did not you excite this provocation by your hot and irritable manner? Excuse my freedoin, dear schoolfellow," added he, seeing the tears start in Parnel's eyes; excuse me, Christian brother, and do not be offended, if I tell you that your religion wants the very corner-stone on which it should be built, and for want of which it cannot stand. Look less to Francis Parnel, and think less of him, and more of Christ who died for him; and you will then find fewer provocations and insults in the world, and you will be allowed to read your Bible and say your prayers
Edmund then took out his Pocket-Bible, which, by its worn and soiled appearance, indicated its having been long in constant use, and referred to several passages upon the subject of humility.- Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.- A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. (Prov. xvi. 18. xxix. 23.) For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah lvii. 15.)
Edmund's pious discourse at length succeeded in composing the mind of young Parnel, and the two boys shortly afterwards entered the school-room together; where, in compliment to Edmund Stephens, Parnel was received by his schoolfellows as if nothing unpleasant had happened on his part: and being afterwards continually withheld by his humble friend froin displaying his heroic spirit, he was allowed to read his Bible whenever he chose without further molestation. Francis Parnel had, however, conceived such a dislike to those boys who had expressed contempt of him and of his religion, that he never felt himself quite happy at school; and as he had attached himself very closely to Edmund Stephens, he became exceedingly anxious to become an inmate in Mrs. Mary Stephens's house, and attend the school as a day-scholar with Edmund. Accordingly, when the next holidays arrived, he made his wishes known to his father, and engaged him to ask this favour of Mrs. Mary Stephens.
This pious woman, whose sole object through life had been to do good rather than to consult her own feelings, was not inexorable to the entreaties of the father, or the wishes of the son; and, finding that it would not be unpleasant to Edmund, she allowed Francis to become a sharer of the little room and bed occupied by her nephew.
Things being thus arranged, after the Christmas holidays, Francis Parnel became an inmate of Mrs. Mary Stephens's house, and the constant companion of Edinund.
It now appeared, that Francis might be amiable, could he be brought to think less of himself and of the world, and to devote himself more entirely to the service of God. But the same error which pervades too many places of education in the Christian world had evidently been blended with the instructions that he had received. Mixed motives of action had been given to this boy, motives of action replete with spiritual death. He had been told that learning was necessary, not only for the elucidation of Scripture, (for which alone it ought to be valued,) but in order to advance him in his school, in the University, in society, and in the Church. He had also been taught that humility was requisite towards God, but that dignity of carriage and spirit were requisite from man to man; and while the character of the man Christ had been at times held up to him as the most perfect model of human excellence, the characters of heathens, as described by their own historians, had afforded the subject of his daily lessons.
Thus, in these and a thousand other instances, had contradictory motives of action been, either directly or indirectly, infused into the mind of this youth; in consequence of which, his conversation displayed a constant series of contradictions: for whereas, through the divine mercy, some of the good seed had taken root and sprung up, the weeds and rubbish so choked them, that they could neither gain strength, nor bring forth fruit. And, in consequence, though Mrs. Mary Stephens believed that the root of the matter was in him, there was so much inconstancy and variableness in his character, that she feared be never would become a useful minister.
During the long winter evenings, after the boys were returned from school, Mrs. Mary Stephens always made a point of introducing such conversation as she thought best calculated to promote the spiritual good of the young people, both of whom were intended to become pastors of the flock of Christ; and on these occasions she used to point out the exceeding and awful responsibility of the ministerial character and functions. And, first, she explained to them that, as much as in man lay, the ministers of Christ were the appointed ministers of life; according to the words of the apostle, which saith, Who hath appointed us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (2 Cor. iii. 6.)
“ Thus then,” said she, “ spiritual life and spiritual death are as certainly in the hands of the ministers of Christ, as the natural life is in the hands and under the command of the physician: and that minister, who, through an overweening love of self, through indolence, or any other motive, fails to deliver his message simply to his congregation, becomes as much the spiritual murderer of his people, as the man who in the days of famine with holds the public stores allotted by government to a starving population is the cause of their natural death. And this awful remark,” continued she, “ may not only be made in the case of ministers, but in that of parents and teachers, and of all persons in every situation of responsibility, or possessing any influence over any single individual of the human race. Those who, through selfishness, or the undue indulgence of any passion, be it pride, or be it ambition, or be it vanity, or be it sensuality, or be it what it will, if it in any way prevents their administering spiritual nourishment to those dependent on them, or over whom they have any influence from situation or other cause, become guilty, as much as in them lies, in a most awful sense, of the breach of that commandment which saith-Thou shalt do no murder.'
“But inasmuch," proceeded she, “as it may be said, that it lies not in the power of man to withhold spiritual life and light from his fellow-creatures, it being an accepted doctrine of the Church, and one upheld by Scripture and the very nature of things, that those who are to be saved were predestinated to salvation before the foundation of the world, according to the seventeenth article of the Church— Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind;'-I answer, that if the salvation of the soul cannot be counteracted by the malice of man, neither is it possible for one individual, however resolute his hatred may be, to destroy, by death, the body of another, unless it is the will of God it should be so. For it is written in the book of Job, The days of man are determined, the number of his months ure with thee. (Job xiv. 5.)
“ Men, therefore, in either case, as ministers of life or of death, can be no more than instruments in the hands of the Almighty. To be instruments, therefore, of good is what we ought to seek; and though offences must come, we must recollect that woe is pronounced on that man by whom they shall come.”
The excellent lady would then proceed to describe that state of mind which fits an individual for spiritual usefulness; and, though without intending it, precisely drew that character of which the world cannot appreciate the value.
And, first, she remarked, that a Christian teacher ought to have a deep sense of sin, which is absolutely necessary to his right estimation of the value of a Saviour. He that does not feel himself sick, will not require the aid of a physician, and he that has not felt his own sickness, will not know how to sympathize with another in the same situation.
“ A man who would be useful,” proceeded she, “ as a Christian instructor, ought to have a very deep knowledge of Scripture, neither should he ever allow human learning to divert him from that one necessary study, though he will gladly and eagerly seek to discover and