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1846.]

A Teacher's Experience.

135

there was a constant revival of God's work in the class, both arnong the Christians and the impenitent. At one time, for weeks in succession, there was some member hopefully converted. Nineteen from this class united with the Salem St. Church, on one communion season. Much of the time there was no special interest in the church. The state of piety and religious interest in the class, was often marked in its influence on the church. I do not now recollect the whole number converted in the class while under my care,—I think about forty. But on a visit to Boston last summer, after an absence of seven years, I met thirty of the class at one time in a social circle, and from them and other particular inquiries, I could learn of only two that had ever been regular members of the class, while I had charge of it; that had not made a public profession of their faith in Christ, and that but one of their entire number had been known to walk unworthy of their church relations.

The meeting was, of course, one of thrilling interest, awakening the most tender and refreshing associations, and never to be forgotten. A remembrancer of great value was unexpectedly presented to their old teacher, which, added to repeated ones, in former times, greatly cheers and encourages his heart, while doing the work of a pioneer minister in this great city of the West. It is to the influence and assistance of that class, under God, that I am now in the ministry.

Another fact. We held two lessons on the Sabbath for recitation and a portion of the time spent one evening a week in devotional exercises, when some member, designated on the previous Sabbath, was the subject of prayer. Yet we spent two and a half years on the first eight chapters, and the interest in the lessons never decreased.

I will add but another. The class have always manifested a special interest in the Epistle to the Romans, and particularly when a text is announced from it. Their interest in each other, in Bible class instruction, and in the prosperity of Zion, seems to be above the common standard, although some of them may be found heads of families on the prairies of the far West, and in the waste places of Maine.

I have only room to say, Let not your question book on Romans fall into disuse: and do all you can to encourage Bible classes.

J. C. W.

KINDNESS.

This will always do good. It makes others happy-—and that is doing good. It prompts us to seek to benefit others-and that is doing good. It makes others gentle and benignant-and that is doing good.

Let it be remembered also, that it is by the temper, and by the spirit that we manifest, that the world forms its opinions of the nature of religion. It is not by great deeds in trying circumstances that men will judge of the nature of the gospel. The world at large cares little how Ignatius and Polycarp felt, or how they died. Perhaps the mass around you never heard their names. They are little impressed by the virtues which Latimer, and Ridley, and Cranmer evinced at the stake. But that unbelieving husband cares much for the gentle and kind spirit of the wife—for all his happiness depends on it; that brother is interested much in the conversation and the spirit of his sister—for he daily observes her temper, and is forming his views of religion from what he sees in her; that child is constantly marking the temper of the father and the mother, and is forming his views of religion, not so much from what he hears in the pulpit, or in the Sabbath school, as from the temper which you evince from one day to another. In these fields-humble though they may seem, and little as they appear to furnish a theatre for the display of eminent virtues—your usefulness lies. There, with the “gentleness” that was in Christ, you cannot but be useful; and exhibiting such a spirit, you will not live in vain.-Barnes.

1846.]

The Great Deceiver.

137

THE GREAT DECEIVER.

CONCLUDED FROM PAGE 115.

If, however, under the blazing light of the Bible, man is driven from the refuge of self-esteem, the resources of his heart are by no means exhausted. If he feel the necessity of conciliating the power of God by penitence; then his mind is fruitful in vain devices to enlarge “the strait gate" and widen “the narrow way.” Hence the false views of repentance so many cherish.

With some it is a mere change of external conduct, unaccompanied by any radical change of the heart ; with others it consists in a few tears for past sins, and a few transitory feelings of sorrow, which do not result in any decided improvement of the life and conversation. Under a like spell of self-deception many seek to win the favor of God, by ways and means, foreign alike to his character and their own. The deluded idolater multiplies sacrifices and offerings; the superstitious devotee wastes his life in self-inflicted penances, fasting and prayers. These indeed are the grosser forms of delusion, and find a place only in ages of darkness, or among a people sunk in ignorance. For more intelligent minds the heart frames more subtle devices. With them religion consists in a decent external form; the outside of the cup is cleansed, but its inward pollution remains. They honor the rites and observances of religion ; they come to the sanctuary, they read the Bible, they bend the knee in prayer, they open the lips to praise, they give alms to the needy, but eherish not the spirit of faith, humility and penitence, that alone can hallow worship in the sight of God. As Israel of old, “they honor God with their lips, while their heart is far from him." Another class are deceived by adopting false evidences of conversion. They neglect self-examination, or shrink from the searching standard of the Bible, and are contented to measure themselves with others, and thus form a false estimate of their character in the sight of God. This delusion is generally practised by leading to forgetfulness of the principle that " without holiness no man shall see the Lord;” and thus profession is made to answer for practice, and the having a name to live, for the life itself. It is a most deadly snare, the most beguiling of all the wiles of a deceitful heart. It throws off from religion its crosses and self-denial, while it retains its promises and hopes. Thus the yoke is made easy and the burden light;

12*

VOL. III.

“ Easy, indeed, it were to reach

A mansion in the courts above,
If swelling words and fluent speech,

Might serve instead of faith and love.
But none shall gain the blissful place,

Or God's unclouded glory see,
Who talks of free and sovereign grace,

Unless that grace has made him free."
Those ensnared by this wile usually rest easy.

The dreams of other deceived souls are occasionally disturbed, an arrow from the quiver of the Almighty may pierce them, but they who are cherishing false evidences of conversion, too generally rest satisfied with the foundations of their hopes, and live and die in fatal security. The light that is in them is darkness, and how great must be that darkness. Upon it the light of revelation flashes, but only to reveal its depth of gloom; and scarcely a solitary beam reaches the soul thus enveloped in false and fatal confidence.

Other forms of self-deception might be noticed, but my limits do not admit. One, however, is so common, it must receive a passing remark. It is the promise or resolution of future amendment. Procrastination lulled the startled conscience of Felix to deeper slumber, and thousands now sleep quietly under the same opiate. It is a flattering delusion.

. It does not place the sinner in direct opposition to God—but he admits his claim, and acknowledges the necessity and ob

1846.]

The Good Step-Mother.

139

ligation of repentance. He even promises to repent and only waits a convenientseason. It is a delusion that flattered him yesterday ; it flatters him to-day; to

morrow its syren tongue will have lost none of its sweetness. Time indeed is flying, but he "takes no note of time;" the evil days are yet future ; and there is time enough yet. Thus,

“ He resolves, and re-resolves, and dies the same.'

From this view of the vain imaginations of the heart, by which man is blinded to the character of God, and his own character, and thus beguiled into error, and seduced from the path of salvation, how true appear the strong declarations of Scripture—“the heart is deceitful above all things—who can know it?" “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.” How needful and timely the caution, “ To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

“ Man's wisdom is to seek his strength,

His strength in God alone ;
And even an angel would be weak

Who trusted in his own."

E. F. C.

THE GOOD STEP-MOTHER,

The step-mother has had an ill name with many from ancient poets down to modern ones. But there were bad mothers, as well as bad step-mothers, in the heathen families of Greece and Rome. The gospel has sanctified in a manner the farnilies under its influence; and there are thus better husbands and wives ; better parents and children; and better fathers-in-law, and mothers-in-law. I would say something now of the good step-mother, of her difficulties, of her usefulness and of her reward.

The good step-mother has her difficulties. The very name of step-mother is a difficulty. It suggests to the children not so much what they have gained in having a mother, instead

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