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"Your experience ought to teach two valuable lessons. One is, that the world looks upon the flatterer with contempt and aversion, because he seeks to secure some selfish object by making dupes of others; and the other is, that he, who resents every little trespass upon his rights and feelings, is sure to be shunned and dreaded by all who are acquainted with his disposition.
5. "You, Sir Chameleon, ought to know by this time, that honest candor is far better than deceitful flattery. And you, Neighbor Porcupine, ought never to forget, that goodhumor is a better defence than an armory of poisoned quills."
LESSON XVI. The Bible; a Familiar Dialogue.
"My dear papa," said Mary, one morning, as they were retiring from the breakfast table, "Charles has asked me a question, which I think I can answer, but I am not sure that I quite understand it; and so I told him I would ask you to explain the difficulty."
Papa. That is quite right, my child; you should always try yourself first; and then, if you find the subject above your comprehension, apply for the assistance of those who are older or better informed than yourself. But let Charles state his difficulty.
Charles. I was reading the tenth chapter of Proverbs, papa, and I could not understand how two of the verses could both be true.. I know both are true, because both are in the Bible; but I could not help thinking there was some contradiction in the two verses I mean.
P. Well, my boy, I will endeavor to explain them. The Bible is the best gift of God to man, and. it is our duty to study it with all our power. We must never pass over difficulties without trying to remove them. In many cases, we may not be fully able to understand the subject; but if we do our best, God will never be angry with us for our ignorance. Above all, we must pray faithfully for the light and guidance of his Holy Spirit, without whose blessing our labor will be useless, and our search vain. Do you understand what I have said, Charles?
C. I think you mean to say, that since the Bible is
God's best gift, we ought to study it with great care, and try to understand what appears difficult, and to pray to God to help us in our search.
P. Quite right, my boy. The wisest man cannot employ his time and talents better than by so studying the Word of God as to be able to explain its difficulties, reconcile its apparent contradictions, make its doctrines clear to less favored minds, and enforce its precepts on all.
Mary. Papa, I have been thinking what was the reason, why, if God's book was written for us all, it was not so written as to be easily understood by all; why there should be any difficulties anywhere.
P. This, my dear child, is a very important point. I will try to show you plainly, that, if there are difficulties in the Bible which it requires our best labor and care to overcome, it is just the same with God's other gifts and blessings. You are well acquainted with the cultivation of a farm. Now just see, what is the case there. The soil is the gift of God; so is the seed; so are the sun, the rain, and the seasons. The very skill of the husbandman, the very hand with which he scatters the grain, are all the gifts of God; but unless he exerts himself, and applies his skill, and strength, and care, in preparing the ground, and sowing the seed, and preserving the growing crop from animals that would devour it, and in reaping and gathering the crop when ripe, he would be a madman to expect his barns to be full of corn in winter. These are difficulties, they must be overcome; and, unless they are overcome, we all know, that the sun and the rain, acting on the soil, will never of themselves bring forth the full, ripe shocks of wheat in harvest time. So it is with the spiritual gifts of Heaven. It would be just as reasonable to deny that God is the gracious Giver of the productions of the earth, because the skill, and labor, and care of man are necessary in their cultivation, as it would be to deny that the Bible was his word, because it requires much study, and research, and prayer, before we can draw from it the truth and comfort which such honest labors, with God's blessing, will produce. Now, Charles, let me hear your difficulty.
C. Well, papa, you remember I said it was in the tenth chapter of Proverbs; in the fourth verse it is said, that "the hand of the diligent maketh rich;" but in the twenty-second verse we read, that "the blessing of the Lord maketh
rich." I did not quite see how the same thing can possibly be said to be done by the hand of the diligent man, and by the blessing of the Lord. But I think I see it more plainly since I have heard your answer to Mary's question.
P. Well, my boy, I think I can reconcile the two passages without difficulty. But tell me first what you think of it yourself.
C. Why, papa, I think it means that the hand of the dil igent and the blessing of God must go together
P. Stay, Charles; if I were to dwell upon it for an hour, I could not state the truth more clearly than you have done.
M. But, papa, pray go on; I am sure you have more to tell us on the subject, and I should like to hear you.
P. You observe, that Solomon is here speaking of the riches of this world; and he says, that, in acquiring them, we must be diligent, and God must also bless our endeav
M. But I have often heard you say, papa, that riches are no proof of God's favor, and that poverty does not show his anger. I suppose God only blesses the riches of good men.
P. Exactly so. Solomon speaks to us very plainly of certain riches which lead to shame and want. It is only when they are gained honestly, and spent charitably, that they have God's blessing. The Christian is happy in possessing riches, because they enable him to do good; and he is contented, if they are taken away. Whilst he has them, he loves to employ them as a faithful steward of his heavenly Master; and, when they fail, he knows where he may take refuge, and still be happy. Do you know what I mean, Mary?
M. I think you mean religion, papa. You have often told me, that God is our only sure friend in sorrow and disappointment.
P. My children, I will give you the only safe rule of conduct. Trust in God, and rely upon him just as entirely as if you were expected to do nothing of yourselves; and labor to be good Christians, just as strenuously as if you had no grace of God to rely on at all. Trust in God, and do your best.
LESSON XVII. The Winds.
1. WE come! we come! and ye feel our might,
2. Ye mark, as we vary our forms of power,
3. And, whether our breath be loud and high,
And ye list, and ye look; but what do ye see?
4. Our dwelling is in the Almighty's hand;
Then lift up your hearts to Him, who binds,
LESSON XVIII. The False Witness Detected.
THE scene of this sketch was in Germany. Therese, a young lady of excellent character, was suspected of having stolen a jewel, which was found in her trunk. She was on trial before the court. Count her lover, with many friends, were present; the court-room was crowded, and the in- . tensest interest prevailed to know the issue of the trial. A female attendant of Therese was the chief witness; she was suspected, however, of having stolen the ring, and opened the trunk of Therese, and put it there, for the sake of bringing the accusation upon her mistress, in order to revenge herself for having been detected in, and reproved for, an attempted theft. The following is the examination of this witness. The result shows the difficulty of concealing crime, and bearing false witness, with impunity.
1. "Do you entertain any ill-will toward the prisoner?” asked Therese's counsel of the attendant.
None," said the witness.
2. "Have you ever quarrelled with her?" "No."
"Do you truly believe that she deposited the jewel in her trunk?"
"I do not like to think ill of any one."
"That is not an answer to my question :- - do you believe that she put it there?"
"How else could it have come there?"
"Answer me, Yes or No," said the advocate. believe that Therese secreted the jewel in her trunk? Yes or No?"
"Yes?" at last faltered out the attendant.
3. "Now, my girl," continued the advocate, "pay heed to what you say; remember you are upon your oath! Will you swear that you did not put it there yourself?" There was a pause and a profound silence. After about a minute had elapsed, "Well?" said the advocate. Another pause; while, in an assembly where hundreds of human hearts were throbbing, not an individual stirred, or even appeared to breathe, such was the pitch of intensity to which the suspense of the court was wound up.
4. “Well,” said the advocate a second time; “will you answer me? Will you swear, that you yourself did not put the jewel into Therese's trunk?"
"I will!" at last said the attendant, boldly. "You swear it?"