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force by which her convictions naturally and readily expressed themselves. Anything beyond the unadorned necessities entered not into her arrrangement. But in enforcing upon her pupils the momentous import of the Divine doctrines of the necessity of repentance and regeneration through the blood of Christ, she kindled as on no other subject; and her own most intense belief in them, her deep sense of individual need and accountability, bore her along in thrilling entreaty that rose almost to eloquence.
It was not by personal presence, by the charm of beauty, or by that grace of manner, which, whether native to a woman or cultivated to the highest degree of art, often amounts to positive fascination. She had nothing of this: her bearing was just what we should look for in one like her; she was unconscious of herself, filled with the thoughts which occupied all her life; regardless to a defect of the minor accomplishments; of a plain, thongh in its way, striking and attractive countenance; ungraceful in form and movement; careless about dress; destitute of drawing-room polish or courtesies.
Yet here she was, a potent soul, shaping the character of hundreds, leading them with a sure hand into the higher lite. And the power was simpler than anything that has been named; it was that of a devout soul waiting on God, inquiring of Him, and doing His pleasure.
God works by means. So Miss Lyon prepared the way for the coming of the Lord. She was “ willing,” nay, more than "willing in the day of His power.” She was ready and looking for Him. She not only made use of a systematic course of religious instruction, and constantly kept their chief interest before the minds of her scholars, but she endeavored to see that nothing in herself or the teachers should stand in the way of a blessing. The spirit of self-sacrifice, of humility, and thanksgiving pervades her letters as it did her life. She knew the condition of every individual of the school, because her deep concern for them made her acquaint herself with the truth. No one felt more deeply the tremendous importance of laying the foundations of the character in Christ. No one knew better the value of a Christian training and personal piety. She felt it to the core of her heart as she looked upon all those young girls standing upon the threshold of woman. hood. What preparation had they for the unknown future? To meet all that lay before them they needed the steadfast trust, the absolute, unfearing security which are to be found in Christ alone. Not one of those under her charge was she willing to commit to the world beyond those peaceful walls, without feeling with some degree of certainty that she possessed, through regeneration and faith in Christ, that which alone would secure her true safety and peace. She was not willing that one should go forth except as strengthened by Christian principles, and by them fitted to be a blessing in whatever place she might be called upon to fill. The sense of this so weighed upon her that she frequently, as opportunity offered, gave herself up for a day or week to prayer and the most earnest meditation.
With many people what they imagine to be meditation is reverie, a dreamy musing, fruitless of result. To her disciplined mind it was a very different process, a systematic investigation of causes and results, of needs and the best way to meet them, a careful looking over of the past, a faithful inquiring of God. In her self-enforced solitude, she was in communication with that Spirit which imparts wisdom to those who ask. She knew from long experience that such communion would be hers, if she desired it. It lay with her wholly. She had only to ask. Can anything be simpler than this wonderful, this almost inconceivable truth? He comes to the soul that wants Him. He is more willing to come, than we to ask; more ready to grant our petitions, than we to make them known. Only the condition is that we must feel our want, must believe in His nearness and power, and must with singleness of soul approach Him. The
, soul must enter into the inmost depths of its retirement, and close the door upon all inferior interests. There must be—0, solemn necessity !-a putting away of secret sin. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” How the
words narrow a man down to the austerest honesty in His sight!
Miss Lyon had such a feeling as this. She asked anxiously: “What is there in me to hinder my prayers for the school ? ” It will probably be found that the seasons of peculiar blessing to the school, were preceded by healthful but rigorous self-examination. And it will readily be believed that few ever went to Him with a spirit more free from selfish motives than she. Those who knew her best were not aware of any personal ambition in her; if it existed they did not discover it. She was believed to be free from it. So far as human judgment could determine, the purpose which controlled her life was the advancement of the kingdom of Christ on earth, personal holiness, and the true good of others. But she helped herself in the higher life by doing the greater work beyond self; so that in one sense, self may be said to have been left wholly out of her arrangements, while by that fine spiritual law, which Christ's nearest friends understand best, she received in her own soul a hundred fold for that which she imparted. The very preparation to meet the King to whom she bore such large petitions for others, brought joy into her own life. She went before Him in such a meek and self-distrustful way-knowing it was such a presumptuous thing to ask so great a favor as the conversion of a soul with a heart pre-occupied, or seeking its own honor — is it any longer a marvel that she received the most gracious answer and the most ample gifts? She went thoughtfully and reverently; she went with repentance in that she had not always done His will; with a little child's confidence that all was His to give; and with her whole heart of love to him and to those she wished to entrust to Him.
Looking over her remarkable life, seeing what she did, and what manner of spirit she was of, how believing she was, we can say of her more truly than of almost any other: “O, woman, great was thy faith!” And then we can understand why so peculiarly to her, were almost verified those other divine words: “ Be it unto thee even as thou wilt.
THE RELATION OF LEGISLATION TO MORAL SUASION, IN
THE TEMPERANCE REFORM..
In the work of reform the word of God appeals to the heart, and demands a new life there, while the civil law can only go so far as to enforce some rules of outward conduct. Human legislation can not enter the drunkard's soul to destroy his depraved disposition, nor into the secret of his physical life to overcome his vicious thirst; but it can put the decanter out of sight, so that his strange thirst may not be provoked by the public display of strong drink.
It will be seen that the power of the civil law lies in its negative method. It can not command a change of the bad passions, but it can remove those objects which feed and stimulate them. Its function thus to maintain social order and true liberty, by removing the sources of needless temptation, has no narrower limnit than the measure of moral virtue in society to enact and then to enforce it. Such legislation is consistent with true liberty. The motto of sound democracy is said to be, “ the greatest possible good to the greatest possible number"; but the free sale of ardent spirits is in result, pecuniary privilege to the few, and destruction to the many. If on the assertion that a man has the right to drink what, and as much as he pleases, the civil law allows the place of indiscriminate sale; then all who live near that place must endure the general nuisance caused by it; the peaceable citizen must be disturbed by night riots, pay taxes to support the drinker and his family, when strong drink has made them paupers, and bear the outrages of the crime thus turned loose upon society. Innocent and defenseless women must suffer abuse; children must be brutally treated, and their ambition to become respectable broken down, with the prospect that families and individuals, otherwise established in virtue and happiness, will be
constantly lured to destruction. It will be seen that this assertion of the right to drink tramples under foot the rights of the many who do not drink, and is therefore but the tyranny of the few. The civil law which undertakes to maintain such a claim is not democratic, but despotic.
Thus, there are two agents in moral reform ; first, the word of God, which is made known through private study, Sabbath-schools, and preaching, so that its truth reaches the popular mind and heart in the attitude of moral suasion. Thereby a moral sentiment is produced in favor of reform. When this sentiment has been received by the majority, then it can pass into the civil law, and that law will have more or less of force according as the moral sentiment on which it rests prevails. A law that is sustained only by a bare majority, can not have much practical force; while if sustained by three-fourths of the community, the law becomes efficient as the second agent in moral reform. Law serves to keep whatever moral suasion may have won. When moral suasion has rolled on the wheel of progress in temperance, the civil law is the latch which legislation drops into the wheel to hold it. Moral suasion applies the truth, through its various instruments of instruction, to the heart and will of the people, in such a way as to persuade them to do well of their own accord, and in this way plants the seeds of temperance, and the civil law builds a fence around these seeds, to protect them that they may grow without molestation. Moral suasion works inwardly in the heart to reform, but law works outside to put down riot and to restrain those who are so perverse that they will not reform themselves, and who do all they can to prevent reform in others.
It appears, therefore, that legislation can not take the lead : it can not enforce anything better than the popular sentiment. It requires greater force of moral sentiment among the people to secure the enforcement of any temperance legislation, than it does to secure the legislation. No matter how good the law enacted, it would fail of being executed, if better than popular opinion would warrant. In a legislature, temperance men