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current of the Christian's happiness flows on in its own hidden channel, let what will disturb the surface of the stream.”
Mary Anne.-I wish I was as good as you are, grandmamma, and then, I think, I should be always happy.
Grandmamma.–And I hope one day you will be far better.
Charles.-We expect great things of you, Mary Anne, and you must not disappoint us. Because you are the youngest, we all take upon ourselves to lend a helping-hand in your education, and I am sure it is a promising task. So you shall have grandmamma's goodness; Louisa's talent and industry; mamma's benevolence, and—what shall I call it; her power of doing every thing well.
Mary Anne. -And Charles's indulgent kindness, and his disposition to think every one better than himself.
Mrs. L.-As you already enjoy, Mary Anne, good abilities, and circumstances favourable to improvement, I need only say, make the most of them. What your hand findeth to do, do it with all your might. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. “Whatever things are true, and pure, and lovely, and of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." And oh, forget not that we of ourselves can do nothing, but “our sufficiency is of God.” Then will I also join in Charles's fond and ambitious expectations. And now that we have given you số much to think of, I believe we must wish you good night!
THE YOUTH FROM HOME. (Addressed to Filius, in reply to his enquiry, * page 141.) DEAR SIR-I have perused with much interest your statement in the Magazine, under the head of “The Enquirer," and your request for some advice; I readily comply with your wish, because I am fully aware of the difficulties you have to encounter ; difficulties to be recognized by those only, who have been or are in similar circumstances.
* We have been favored with other replies to this interesting question, for which we thank our correspondents. The following, recommended by its bré. vity, deserves insertion :
Sir,- In answer to a similar question to chat put by your “Enquirer" for this month, the three following simple rules were lately suggested, and whilst pondering them over in my mind, the thought struck me that they might be useful also to your Enquirer," so forth with I subjoin them
1. Go to no place where you cannot ask God to go with you. II, Engage in no business which you cannot ask God to bless. III. Indulge in no pleasure for which you cannot on your knees return thanks to God.
That you have been kindly and religiously brought up, is a privilege that demands your constant gratitude. A religious education is, humanly speaking, the very best preservative against the temptations to which persons may be subsequently exposed; this sentiment is supported by the acknowledgments of many pious, sensible, and judicious writers, as well as authorized by the imperative declarations of Scripture, “ Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”— (Prov. xxii. 6.") A garden espalier, trained with care, will afford a beautiful as well as a striking illustration of this text. The late Rev. John Newton remarks, “For the encouragement of pious parents to go on in the good way of doing their part faithfully, to form their children's minds, I may properly propose myself as an instance. Though in process of time I sinned away all the advantages of these early impressions, yet they were, for a great while, a restraint upon me; they returned again and again, and it was very long before I could wholly shake them off; and when the Lord at length opened my eyes, I found a great benefit from the recollection of them. Further, my dear mother, besides the pains she took with me, often commended me with many prayers and tears to God, and I doubt not but I reap the fruits of these prayers to this hour."* “The implantation of principles," says the Rev. Richard Cecil, “is of unspeakable importance, especially when culled from time to time out of the Bible. The child feels his parent's authority supported by the Bible, and the authority of the Bible supported by the parent's weight and influence. Here are data-fixed data. A man can very seldom get rid of these principles; they stand in his way; he wishes to forget them, perhaps, but it is impossible.” .“ Where parental influence does not convert, it hampers ; it hangs on the wheels of evil. I had a pious mother who dropped things in my way; I was a professed infidel, but then I liked to be an infidel in company, rather than when alone! I was wretched
* Authentic Narratives, Letter 2.
when by myself. These principles, and maxims, and data, spoiled my jollity; I had beguiled several of my associates into my own opinions, and I had to maintain a character before them, but I could not divest myself of my better principles. I went with one of my companions to see “The Minor,' he could laugh heartily at Mother Cole; I could not; he saw in her the picture of all who talked about religion ; I knew better. The ridicule on regeneration was high sport to him: to me it was none; it could not move my features. He knew no difference between regeneration and transubstantiation; I did. I knew there was such a thing; I was afraid and ashamed to laugh at it. Parental influence thus cleaves to a man; it harasses him; it throws itself continually in his way."*
The Rev. Thomas Scott observes, in his “Force of Truth,'t "a hymn of Dr. Watts's, in his admirable little book for children, entitled, The All-seeing God,' at this time fell in my way; I was much affected with it, and having committed it to memory, was frequently repeating it, and thus continually led to reflect on my guilt and danger. Parents may, from this inconsiderable circumstance, be reminded of the great importance of storing their children's memories with useful matter, instead of suffering them to be furnished with such corrupting trash as is commonly taught them. They know not what use God may make of these early rudiments of instruction, in future life.”
The beneficial effects of religious instruction, you have, I trust, experienced ; at least, as far as conviction and restraint are connected with it; this appears evident from the tenor of your statement, and if so, the difficulties you have referred to, will be the more boldly met, and the more easily surmounted. “This is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith.” The principle of religion, fixed in the heart, will render you valiant for the truth, and bring you off, finally, more than conqueror. Under its influence “denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, you will live godly, and soberly, and righteously, in this present evil world.”
The chief difficulty of which you complain, arises from your being thrown into the society of those of your own age, who have no regard for their spiritual interests; this is no more than might be reasonably expected. Unless the bias of the mind be towards heavenly things, the period of youth will be marked by gaiety and
frivolity. A youth, whom I shall call Eusebius, was at an early age placed in one of the government offices : he was at that time under serious impressions of no ordinary character; he knew but little of the vices that abounded in the metropolis, and heard with astonishment and disgust, the loose and corrupt conversation of the young men when they met together; they talked of scenes, and sights, and pursuits, offensive to modesty, and represented religion as mere cant. The theatre was always a prominent theme, and everything they represented, tended to disclose the fact, that they walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience. Eusebius, although frequently invited to accompany them, and although they derided his attachment to religion, remained firm, and dared to be singular.
London abounds with temptations, and presents every opportunity to gratify the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. They who pursue these things will naturally endeavour to persuade others to join their party, and follow the same course. To refuse them, is to condemn their conduct, and provoke them to retaliate; this they do, and often, too often, with success, by representing religion, or religious characters, as inimical to social enjoyment, and disposing the mind to gloom and misanthropy. All this is natural enough; it is an effort to annul the charges justly brought against them, by counter-charges against those who refuse to run with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of them.
Having in former years had to encounter the very same difficulties, I can enter more fully into the description you have given. Frequently have I felt the blush rising in my face, when I have heard the conversation above alluded to, and refused the most pressing solicitations to join in parties of pleasure, which they described as perfectly harmless, and even rational! Sabbathbreaking, swearing, unbecoming discourse, dramatic representations, balls, nocturnal entertainments, were all justified, and I was considered as bigoted, righteous over much, and contracted in my views of religion, in consequence of the severe and harsh sentiments in which I had been educated.
This is the period in which decision of character is to be displayed, and in which the Christian, young or old, must acquit himself manfully. All compromise with persons of a worldly spirit is unlanfol. “It is impossible," says Dr. Blair, " to be sincere, and especially to support the Christian character, if we always assert and comply with our connexions, and the company we happen to be in. Temporizing overthrows all steadiness of principle, and produces that sinful conformity to the world, which taints the whole character ; indeed, it is criminal on various occasions if we do not oppose the world, though we should stand alone, or suffer in so doing.” Milton has given a striking picture of constancy and adherence to principle, in his description of Abdiel,
“ Unshaken, unseduced, unterrifi'd,
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind.” You intimate a fear that by refusing to join in the pleasures referred to, may give your friends“ an unfavourable opinion of the character and tendency of Christianity, by evincing, what they may suppose to be, an unhappy, morose, or sullen disposition.” It is our duty to present Christianity as the very reverse of this; its influence is to promote happiness and joy, cheerfulness and affability, openness and candour. In the sentimental and chaste language of Cowper, a poet who needs only to be read, to be admired,
“True piety is cheerful as the day,
For others' woes, but smiles upon her own." It is admitted that there are some professors of Christianity whose demeanour gives a very unfavourable complexion to religion, but these are not accredited evidences. It must also be conceded that the lovers of pleasure are partial and incompetent judges, such as we should never think of selecting as capable of trying the question, any more than we should consider a jury of dancers, fit to be impannelled on a question purely medical or commercial. The opinion or impression of these gay companions, these giddy sons of mirth and dissipation, is altogether unworthy of regard ; yet they must not be treated with contempt, disdain, or even indifference. You have a part to act, and this part is plainly prescribed in 2 Tim. ii. 25, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves,” for, “the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be