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the means of grace, and endeavoured to do good, while setting his face against a gainsaying world, and declaring himself on the Lord's side ? Perhaps you reply, as have many others, if I am a Christian I shall still remain one, and be saved whether I make a profession or not. I grant it: and so might the four lepers that were without the city of Samaria have said, who discovered that the Assyrians had abandoned their camp. They might, it is true, have lived on the plenty that they found to eat and drink, while thousands within the city were dropping hourly into eternity with hunger; but while there would have been plenty with them, in thus acting, would they not have been murderers? You cannot but see the folly of such reasoning. Let us awake to a sense of our responsibility and duty; and if we do hope in Christ, let it become manifest to the world. Far from me to suppose that a profession will save any one; it will fearfully aggravate the condemnation of those who are lost : But let us be up and doing; resolving that by God's grace we will work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, and not have it to lament through an endless eternity that, by not walking openly with the followers of Christ on earth, we were left in the ranks of the ungodly; at first to prefer their approbation, then to relish their pursuits, and finally to share in their perdition.
But can a penitent be an opposer of Christ? I answer, not in heart, but he may be in conduct. Ye who sincerely love our Master, but who neglect to espouse his cause before the world; will it be no diminution of your heavenly bliss, to have come from your warfare below, with no scars to evince your holy intrepidity, and no trophies to tell of your success, and to have left the field of your labours bearing no sheaves to the garner of your Lord ?
FOR THE PILGRIM.
INGENUOUSNESS OF CHARACTER.
NO trait presents itself in the human character more lovely than ingenuousness. There is none which proffers more acceptable invitations to confidence and friendship. It always manifests its own real nature, without dissimulation, without awakening fear or suspicion. In all the artless simplicity of truth, in all the frankness of unsuspecting innocence, it makes known its purposes, its sentiments, and its objects of affection and interest. It is as unlike that dark duplicity often seen, which, though varying its forms and appearance to allure and to deceive, is still always forbidding and suspected, as light is unlike darkness, or truth falsehood. Every thing in the one recommends itself to esteem and trust; honest in its pretensions, clear in its promises, and well known from its true indications of candor and sincerity; so that the confidence of its alliances are never weakened, nor the fervour of its friendships cooled. A Tight is thrown around it, rendering visible its motives of action, its
plans of conduct and its opinions of men and things. But in the other there is nothing that can be loved ; nothing that can awaken esteem, or even excite sympathy. There is a mysteriousness enveloping it, which can only be shunned or despised, -an impenetrable cloud, in whose shadow we dare not remain. Awhile we may stand at a distance and gaze as on a phantom, full of uncertainty, painfully doubting whether to embrace it as a friend or to avoid it as an enemy, until at length impatience hurries us away from the illusive object, and we seldom wish to take a second view.
A person who has advanced but a short distance on the journey of life, must have oftentimes noticed these two opposite extremes of character ; and he will candidly say that the one invited and perhaps received his veneration, love, and pity, while for the other he felt either indifference or disgust. The former indeed may not be blameless and perfect; it may in many instances err; it may injure itself and its associates, and not unfrequently have cause to mourn over its own folly, its exposure to deception, and its incautious simplicity; but through all this its native lustre shines forth, too mild, and too charming, not to procure the warmest admiration for its beauties, and the readiest pardon for its faults.
Possessed of this, a person spreads a kind of enchantment around the society in which he moves; his appearance, his actions and his conduct afford the highest pleasure to those of a kindred spirit, and to all impart satisfaction, and delight. His presence drives away distrust, and suspicion, and conjecture, which destroy so many friendships, and poison so many sources of happiness. He carries with him the very zest of the enjoyment of social intercourse, a boldness, a freedom, and an unreservedness, which genuine friendship alone can justly appreciate, but which do not exist in a suspecting and suspected world. Even in this state of insecurity he is generally more free from attack than the distrustful and jealous. He holds up so beautiful a picture, that slander itself seldom attempts to throw upon it any defilement, and therefore it remains in all its pristine loveliness and purity, a glowing monument of the skill of the artist, while many coarser paintings have been materially injured, or entirely destroyed.
Surely philanthropy never devised a scheme more fraught with human happiness, and more favorable to its extension, than would be an universal exhibition of this sincerity and frankness of character; I mean, among those in the higher walks of life, who are regarded as enlightened and virtuous. Were its influence seen and felt by all such, who could calculate the amount of happiness which would then be brought into the civilized world ? Then active and sympathetic benevolence would not find so many objects to resist her progress, to occasion regret or to awaken sorrow. Then there would be, in every enlightened society, if not the reality, at least the semblance of that innocence and simplicity and consequent happi. ness which were known in Eden's blissful bowers.
But painful as it is, our experience and daily observation force us to the conclusion that this noble principle exists but with few, and has an influence lamentably too small. Its opposite is so strong
and prevalent, that our common associates are little more than strait gers, and our choicest friends are hardly known. There is, in almost every bosom, a coldness of feeling, and an obscurity of suspicion, which are as fatal to the enjoyment of life, as the Sirocco of the east to life itself. Each person seems to be insulated from his fellows; alone in his interests and pursuits, fortified in his own selfishness, not caring nor feeling for those around him, provided he can be safe and prosperous. No wonder then, amid such a destitution of syınpathy, and benevolence, and fellow interest, that there exist no richer enjoy. rents, nor purer friendships; for there is no soil to give them nourishment, no genial influence to bring them to maturity. As long as men remain in this darkness of character, as long as from deception, or fear, or suspicion, they conceal their hearts, so long will society be destitate of interest, and obligation, and enjoyment. But when they cease to dissemble, when they throw aside these dark surmises and forbidding doubts, and show that noble frankness of character, that indifference and fearlessness of suspicion, that purity of motive which desires not concealment, and a plain exhibition of the real objects of their business and pursuits; then social intercourse will possess numerous and irresistible charms, which would prevent the snarling of cynics, the censures of the recluse, and the occasional disgust of all. Could society be thus purified, then those, who are now braving its dangers, might lay aside their arms, and those who are fearful, would have the benefit of perfect security. Then the voice of friendship would never be silenced, nor the confidence of affection betrayed, nor the fervor of feeling grow cold.
Thus far, I have considered ingenuousness as it affects worldly intercourse, and have glanced at the charms and pleasures which it throws around that society, where it exists in its purity; and have also pointed out some of the evils which its opposite trait is calculated to produce. If we extend our view of the subject, we shall find one trait to be not only a moral but a christian virtue, and the other a sinful propensity, dangerous to the soul of its possessor as well as to society.
He whose heart is warm with love to his Creator, and with benevolence to his fellow creatures, cannot surely wear a garb fit only to conceal depraved motives and designs. His purposes are to do good, and therefore he cannot wish to conceal them. Actuated by the principles of true benevolence, he cannot cherish a thought which he would fear that the world should know, por devise a scheme which he would blush to mention even to his enemies. Hence he is always free from the necessity of dissimulation, and as long as he conducts worthy of his character, he can never practice an art so base, and becoming only the deceiver and the hypocrite. The Christian then, is bound to be ingenuous, and sincere; for the moment he puts a false gloss on his sentiments, or shuns the disclosure of his motives, he acts the part of a hypocrite, and furnishes evidence that his heart is not the pure fountain of christian truth and love. Let all then throw aside this fashionable dress, if they would maintain a character consistent with their profession, would avoid The reproach and the guilt of the deceiver, would merit and receive the esteem and confidence of the virtuous and the good, and even the respect of the unprincipled and vicious. Especially let them throw it aside, if they would keep “ their lips from guile” and their hearts warm with piety and love.
Dissimulation is wholly inconsistent with truth and innocence, and religion, and must, therefore, be considered as the offspring of guilt, and must itself be pronounced guilty and criminal. Prevalent as it is in the world, existing as it does in every society, it still in. creases the guilt of all who practice it, and will be brought into judgment along with all other sins, which a just God never fails to no.
THE LOOKING GLASS.
YOU must know, by this time, that I am a famous traveller, almost equal to yourself, and as soon as one expedition is over, I am moving on another. In my last I told you of a conversation I had with my old neighbour X., and as that was but a part of that adventure, I have concluded to give you the whole.
After the old gentleman left me, I resolved to make the rock my bed and stay there all night; so wrapping my loose coat around me, I laid myself down. Whilst lying there and looking at the starry firmament that shone through the broad fissures of the rock, my mind was turned to reflect on the view that Jacob must have had at Luz, when the Lord first appeared to him. What a glorious ladder, which, set upon the earth, reached to heaven, even to God; for he stood at the top of it and communicated to the Patriarch his gracious purpose. It was the pathway for the ministering spirits also, sent to minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation. I very soon fell asleep, and the subject still remaining in my mind, I dreamed. It appeared to me that I stood on an eminence that overlooked a large portion of the adjacent country. It being somewhat dark, it was at first impossible to discover the objects which surrounded me; suddenly a light shone from the eastward and illuminated the scene, as far as the eye could reach, shewing a straight and narrow path,* extending through the midst of a deep morass or swamp. This path rose gradually towards heaven, and was so exceedingly narrow that it was impossible for two to walk abreast on it, or for one to carry any weight or obstruction of any kind; and a man must watch his steps with much care, or he would surely slip and fall. This light, above-named, shined distinctly on nothing but the path, which made that very plain, though all around appeared gloomy and comfortless. While I was looking upon this singular phenomenon, two men made their appearance, travelling in this narrow way. They were clothed in white garments, very pure and clean, anı! walked with much care. The one who went first had nothing to
* See Frontispiece.
encumber him ; his attention was directed to his steps, and to a a book of directions which he held in his hand. The other person was loaded with a variety of things; on one shoulder was a number of rolls and bundles; under his arm was a large book, and in his hand a basket containing some provisions* and a bottle of cordial, with which he might refresh himself on the journey. As they entered on the way they greeted each other very cordially, and agreed to keep company together as they travelled-so they immediately entered into conversation ; and the man who was foremost thus began :
Plain Truth. Well, my dear brother, we are happily placed in this path, which, at one time, was more than I dared to hope, but verily thought I should perish in the environs of this dismal morass.
Fickle Mind. It was an astonishing act of mercy and grace, as unexpected as it was undeserved on my part, I am sure. But, my brother, where are your accommodations ? You seem to have nothing convenient or comfortable ; nothing to refresh yourself with on your journey : perhaps you have ready cash, however, and intend to supply yourself on the road.
P.7. No, you are entirely mistaken there ; I do not intend to gratify myself with such things in any way whatever. At my first setting out I thought I could carry with me my comforts, my luxuries, my commission in the army, and my worldly honor, my good name, and in fact almost every thing which I had. But when the light first broke in upon me and shewed me this path, and I saw how exceedingly narrow it was, and the great danger there would be of my slipping, or stumbling, even if I carried nothing, I thought best to leave all such things, and give my whole attention to the injunctions contained in this book, viz. “ to watch and pray," and to “ watch and keep my garments," which latter, you know, we are under particular obligation to do. So I left all my concerns of this nature in the care of him, to whom Christ commanded the young man to entrust the burial of his father,t " and determined, with the assistance of him who has promised to help in every time of need, to preserve my garments unspotted.”
F. M. Well, but it seems to me you might carry a few trifles, as I do, without any danger, for you must know there is not a tavern on the road, and you will want refreshments occasionally ; besides, there is no use in being in too great haste, and attempting to run away from every body ; but let us rather go sociably along with other people, as we may chance to find them on the road. I wish to preserve my garments as much as you do ; but to do that I think we ought to go slow and careful. I don't think I am in any more danger than you are : Pray do you think it wrong to carry with us as many of the comforts of life as we can ?
P. T. I have nothing in view but to go as fast as possible and go right. The book in my hand says, “So run that ye may obtain;" and with this book, and the Holy Spirit to direct, I hope to run so as to obtain. As to carrying those comforts, conveniences, and neces-
* Worldly and carnal gratifications. † Matthew viii. 22.