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160 DIALOGUe between A MOTHER AND DAUGHTER. gave you that advice: it was Mrs. M. W. But is it not difficult to follow ?'
M. “Yes, my dear, because it implies a tender and awakened conscience : but the more we endeavour to follow it, the more easy it will become ; and unless we do follow it, it will be impossible to walk consistently in the paths of holiness and peace; and if constant watchfulness be necessary to preserve our bodies from the slighter causes of disease, or the fair flowers of our garden from blight, can it require less care and watchfulness to preserve our souls from those roots of unbelief and iniquity which are continually springing up, and whose unvariable tendency is to rob us of our peace?'
D. “I hope that I shall reflect on what you have been teaching me ; and perhaps, dear mamma, when I have read the books you are going to lend me, we may then have some further conversation on this subject.'
M. • I shall have great pleasure in such conversation; for we have not considered yet the hundredth part of the excellence and beauty of peace, nor of the various happy ways of travelling towards it; but this is enough for the present: go, my child, and practise what you know; if you would possess ten talents, see that you do not neglect the one you have. Taste and see for yourself that the Lord is gracious.'
THE CANKER OF THE RELIGIOUS WORLD.
(Continued from page 64.]
If men professing Christianity would only consent to take the plain declarations and injunctions of scripture, on this point, in their simplest and most obvious meaning, our present task would soon be completed. Nothing can be conceived more clear, more distinct, or more unequivocal, than the downright and sweeping cautions and prohibitions of Christ himself on this head. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth.” “ Take no thought for the morrow ; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” “ Take heed and BEWARE of covetousness ; for a man's life (or well-being) consisteth not in the abunance of the things which he possesseth.”
Is it not strange that men can hold up their heads among the leading professors of the gospel of God, who are daily trampling all these most clear, plain, and distinctinjunctions of Christ under their feet? And the low state of the church in these matters is seen in this, that such men can so mingle with the best members of the church, and can be received and welcomed among them. Would a notorious adulterer, or a known thief or idolater be so received ? We suppose not ;-And yet in Paul's eyes they were
all on one footing. “ I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or coveteous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner ; with such an one, no, not to eat.” 1 Cor. v. 11. But into which, even of our most flourishing churches, can we now go, and look around, without being struck again and again with the sight, among the most distinguished and favoured of the congregation, of men who are notorious, and who even pride themselves on being so, as great accumulators of money? Of men, in short, who have laid up for themselves “ treasures on earth,” who have “ taken thought for the morrow," who have made manifest to all men their conviction, that a man's well-being does 6 consist in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
The practical authority of the precept even, is lost-as entirely as if it had never been given. It is held of no more account in the church, than if it were some passage in the Alcoran. And yet this neglected and despised rule has in it more real happiness, more substantial comfort, than all that covers the earth's circumference, or all the mines which lie hidden beneath her surface, could ever yield. For observe well, reflect for a moment over the doctrine on which this principle of abstinence is founded.“ Behold the fowls of the air: they sow not, neither reap, nor gather into barns ; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye much better than they? And if God 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? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, wherewithal shall we be clothed ? for your
Heavenly FATHER KNOWeth that ye have need of all these things !”
The same spirit breathes in that brief prayer which Christ himself dictated. “ OUR FATHER, which art in heaven ;-give us, THIS DAY, our DAILY bread.” Nothing can be more diametrically opposed to the spirit and temper of many wealthy members of the visible church than this petition ; and yet nothing can be more truly wise, more truly connected with their real happiness.
The point aimed at by men in general, whether in the church or out of it, is independence. The point aimed at, and expressly preferred in this petition, is, a state of dependence. The mind of man, the natural mind, whether ruling in the unregenerate, or contending for the mastery in the regenerate, says, 0 that I possessed, and held within my own power, the full supply of all my wants, for the whole of my life. Oh! that I could be released from this state of dependence on God; from this necessity of always looking up to him, Oh! that I were my own providence, and were removed from all necessity of prayer, by being already supplied, not for the day only, but for all the days of my life.
But Christ says,--Ask not for more than the day's supply. Take no thought for the morrow. Your Father knoweth your wants, and you may safely leave the future with him. Go to him for your daily food, because though he “careth for you,” yet in all these things she will be inquired of, to do it for you ;”—but ask not for more than the day's supply, for it pleases him to hear your voice daily.
Now the difference between these two, may be illustrated by a simile sufficiently familiar. Suppose
one man to receive at once a large sum, sufficient, indeed, to supply all his wants to the end of his life. And suppose another to be adopted, fully and completely, into the sovereign's own family, and to be made, to all legal intents and purposes, a prince of the blood royal, in a dynasty so firmly established as to fear no change.
Which is the preferable situation ? Nay, which is actually the richer man? The former may have a large treasure-heap of coin; the latter none at all;and yet, which is the richer man? Nevertheless, while the second is the position in which Christ teaches us to place ourselves, the first is the position in which we are constantly striving to place ourselves.
Christ says to us, Raised to the high dignity and privilege of sons of God;”-exalted to be “heirs ” of the Lord of heaven and earth,-act as such ! Think no more of the petty struggles and contentions of those “ who have their portion in this life,” as to which shall heap together the largest pile of shining ores, or stones. Possessing “ all things," how can you be made richer by piling together such things as these? Put such follies far from you, and live as the children of a king ought to live. Come to your father's bounteous table daily: you will never be denied; never be overlooked. But aim not to carry away, or heap up for a future day, more than you need for the present time. Such conduct is an insult to your Father himself. It tells him that you cannot trust him with the future;—that you are not quite convinced that he both can and will provide for you as well to-morrow as to-day. Or it tells him that you do not like to be his guest, his pensioner ;