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and women sin at all ? Is it merely the material machine called the body that fails to obey the spirit ? Is mere matter essentially and of itself evil? Common sense rejects such idle fancy. And whence comes the admission that man has anything immortal or spiritual in him ?
Ah! why will not the mind that unconsciously snatches at a gleam from the Word of Truth yield to its authority and bask in its full light?
Cannot you see that Christianity is the only answer to all human doubts and questionings, the true solution of all difficulties about man's history and destiny, a perfect and Divine provision for all human need, and a triumphant overthrow of all the evil that affects our race? Let but the Book of books, the Divine record of sin and salvation, have its proper place, and it will do its intended work. By the power of God the Spirit it will teach us why we die, and how to die so as “through the grave and gate of death to rise to glorious immortality.”
Answer, then, God's question, sinner, “Why will ye die ? ” Why turn from heaven and happiness? Is it not because “ye will not come to Him that ye may have life?” There is, there can be, no other reason.
“He that believeth on the Son (of God) hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life.”] Is he, therefore, extinct, annihilated? Ah! no, “but the wrath of God abideth on him," and the soul so departing must bear the awful burden of that wrath which is the solemn necessity of love rejected, salvation despised. Then " He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still."2 Not justified by faith in the blood of Christ, not sanctified by the Holy Spirit, without the twin gifts that constitute salvation from wrath and meetness for heaven, eternally, continuously, for ever and ever.
L. E. G. John iii. 36.
2 Revelation xxii. Il.
The Early Snowdrop ; or, Reproved by Nature.
ADDENED, weary, one dark day
Where Nature, wrapped in slumber, my
In peacefulness profound.
Within the frozen bed;
Perched, waiting to be fed.
Beneath the pure white sheet
Till silence was complete.
When from a little patch of earth
Two tiny leaves I spied-
Close by the bleak hedge-side.
So patient, yet so bold ;
In spite of gloom and cold.
On that bleak, wintry day;
God's scattered frost thick lay.
Fair, fragile form, art thou ?
To deck chill Winter's brow?
“In slender robe of green thin clad,
Thou bendest o'er the earth, -
Though lonely from her birth.
Sweet tidings thou dost bring ; The knell thou art of Winter drear,
The matin of the Spring !
1 Job xxxvii. 9.
Thou yet beholdest not the day
That day we fondly prize-
'Neath cold and sullen skies.
“No place there seems for selfish thought,
Within thy soft sad eye ;
Thou art content to die !
Oh! fraught within thy tiny sphere,
With holy truths profound-
As though thou speech had found."
“ Who placed my lot so frailly fair,
In lot so seeming stern,
Life's lesson I could learn.
" Who laid me on this cheerless bed,
Can guide the storm aright;
That else my form may blight.'
“ And so where'er thy lot be cast,
Be sure God's choice it is;
When all thy will is His !”
O tender floweret! grateful I
Turn from thy simple word ;
“ Teach me Thy will, O Lord !”
Teach me to love and do Thy will,
Whate'er that will may be ;
Thy love in each to see.
“Amen!” my heart, arise and say
" Amen !” God speed the prayer; Go forth courageous on thy way, And cast on Him thy care !
X. Y. z. 1 Romans viii. 28; Psalm xlvi. 1-3.
2 Psalm xlvi. 10.
Twas a magnificent plant, tall and stately, and
covered with a beautiful bloom; just the very thing, I thought, to put in my study window. It
would be useful as a screen, to keep the passersby from staring in; it would also give a bright and pleasing appearance to the room, and take off some of the dulness that usually pervaded it. Yes, it was exactly what I wanted; having decided this, I bought it, and placed it on a table in front of the window, where it was greatly admired by all who saw it. “What a beautiful plant !” said one of my acquaintances. “How I should like to have one like it !” remarked another; and every one decided that I had made a good purchase. But how did it prove? I will tell you.
Before it had been in the room a day I had a bad headache, and ere it had graced the window a week, not myself only, but all in the house were suffering from the same complaint. At first we did not lay the blame to the plant, but imagined the sickness came from some other cause; but at length we decided that the flower must have something to do with it, and it was accordingly removed. Never shall I forget the relief we felt almost immediately. The headaches soon went away, and everyone was as well again
The fact was just this, the scent of the flower, however pleasant it might be, was too powerful for a small
Nor was this all; no doubt the quality of the air was injured by the plant exhausting the oxygen and impregnating the atmosphere with other gases.
So much, then, for my beautiful flower. Now let us see if we cannot draw a moral from it.
May we not, some of us, be living in an atmosphere poisoned by sin; made unwholesome and impure by some particular vice—some vice that, perchance, may hardly seem such, but that has a lowering and depressing tendency, and checks the growth of what might be good within us. There are some sins that do not show their ugliness so distinctly as others-nay, more, that may be almost mistaken
for virtues; but if they are sins, they are injurious, and in the end will bear bitter fruit.
A sin indulged in, although it may appear a small one, will taint and poison the soul, and work incalculable mischief. The Pharisee who was praying in the Temple thanked God that he was not as other men; he thought he had no sin to confess, but the poisonous plant of pride was deeply rooted in his heart, and God could see it there.
“The man's morals were exact. What then ?
A praying, synagogue-frequenting beau.” If we, as Christians, feel that we are making no progress in holiness, but that our virtues are stunted and perhaps dying, we may be sure that we are harbouring some poisonous plant in our bosoms which is destroying the very atmosphere upon which they ought to thrive. Till that is removed there can be no healthy growth in grace, such as ought to mark the child of God.
Would it not have been folly to keep my flower in the room where it did mischief? Most decidedly; but the folly is greater in allowing a sin to remain in the heart that it is injuring. Beautiful to the eye was the flower, and it was not without some regret that I saw it removed; so the plucking up of some favourite indulgence may cause a pang, but it must be done, or the consequences will be ruinous.
Just one more thought suggested by the plant. The relief gained on its removal was great and immediate; and the relief to be found by destroying or overcoming evil in our souls will be great, too. There can be no real satisfaction to a person whose heart is touched by Divine love to harbour sin ; but there will be the greatest in feeling that sin is conquered; and what a blessed thing it is to know that we have not to depend upon our own strength in doing