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them, would you not have said, “socner shall the rose grow poisonous than she; both may wither, but neither corrupt'? And how often, at evening, did she clasp her tiny hands in prayer ? How often did she put the wonder-raising questions to her mother, of God, and heaven, and the dead, - as if she had seen heavenly things in a vision! As young womanhood advanced, and these foreshadowed graces ripened to the bud and burst into bloom, health glowed in her cheek, love looked from her eye, and purity was an atmosphere around her. Alas! she forsook the guide of her youth. Faint thoughts of evil, like a far-off cloud which the sunset gilds, came first; nor does the rosy sunset blush deeper along the heaven, than her cheek, at the first thought of evil. Now, ah! mother, and thou guiding elder sister, could you have seen the lurking spirit embosomed in that cloud, a holy prayer might have broken the spell, a tear have washed its stain! Alas! they saw it not; she spoke it not; she was forsaking 'the guide of her youth.' She thinketh no more of heaven. She breatheth no more prayers. She hath no more penitential tears to shed; until, after a long life, she drops the bitter tear upon the cheek of despair, - then her only suitor. 'Thou hast forsaken the covenant of thy God.' Go down ! fall never to rise! Hell opens to be thy home!
Oh Prince of torment! if thou hast transforming power, give some relief to this once innocent child, whom another has corrupted! Let thy deepest damnation seize him who brought her hither! Let his coronation be upon the very mount of torment ! and the rain of fiery hail be his salutation! He shall be crowned with thorns poisoned and anguish-bearing; and every woe beat upon him, and every wave of bell roll over the first risings of baffled hope. Thy guilty thoughts, and guilty deeds, shall Alit after thee with bows which never break, and quivers forever emptying but never exhausted! If Satan hath one dart more poisoned than another; if there be one hideous spirit more unrelenting than others; they shall be thine, most execrable wretch! who led her to 'forsake the guide of her youth and to abandon the covenant of her God.'”
There are multitudes in our land who might well feel smitten by such a passage as this; for conscience would whisper to their hearts, telling them of their own guilt, and making them feel that if there is one sin more than another which is the source of most hideous woe, it is this. How many a fair spirit has been thus polluted! And how wide-spread are the monstrous abominations connected with this wickedness! Could the curtain be uplifted which conceals this vice, how many would start back in amazement, how many would be overwhelmed with anguish.
pp. 186, 187.
As another specimen of Mr. Beecher's style, we open his Lectures at random, and take the following:
"I may here, as well as anywhere, impart the secret of good and bad luck. There are men, who supposing Providence to have an implacable spite against them, bemoan in the poverty of a wretched old age the misfortunes of their lives. Luck forever ran against them, and for others. One, with a good profession, lost his luck in the river, where he idled away his time a fishing, when he should have been in the office. Another, with a good trade, perpetually burnt up his luck by his hot temper, which provoked his employers to leave him. Another, with a lucrative business, lost his luck by amazing diligence at everything but his business. Another, who steadily followed his trade, as steadily followed his bottle. Another, who was honest and constant to his work, erred by perpetual misjudgments;- he lacked discretion. Hundreds lose their luck by endorsing; by sanguine speculations; by trusting fraudulent men; and by dishonest gains. A man never has good luck who has a bad wife. I never knew an early-rising, hard-working, prudent man, careful of his earnings and strictly honest, who complained of bad luck. A good character, good habits and iron industry, are impregnable to the assaults of all the ill luck that fools ever dreamed of. But when I see a tatterdemalion, creeping out of a grocery late in the forenoon, with his hands stuck into his pockets, the rim of his hat turned up, and the crown knocked in, I know he has had bad luck, — for the worst of all luck, is to be a sluggard, a knave, or a tippler.” — p. 30.
In the chapter entitled, “the Portrait Gallery,” are descriptions of the wit, the humorist, the cynic, the politician, and the demagogue. So also we are taken to the house of evil, where we see five wards, - pleasure, satiety, discovery, disease, and death. Under all these heads are passages, which can hardly be perused without leaving a deep impression upon the mind. There are sentences in the volume, which might be considered by some persons to be in bad taste, but the writer has evidently sought to speak truly and not fritter away the meaning by the use of inadequate terms. He holds his pen with a steady hand and writes with honest fidelity. If his style is deficient in repose, it lacks not energy, and it has a life and spirit which arrest the attention and hurry one along, as by a spell, through its earnest appeals, and sharp delineations, and graphic picturings. We doubt not this volume has already done much good and is destined to do much more.
We have now noticed five books which have been recently published, all of which are addressed to young men. This may seem at first a greater number than can be needcd, but when we think of the multitude who are coming forward upon the active stage of life, when we remember the temptations and trials which await them, when also we call to mind the incalculable importance, both to themselves and others, of their having right views and principles, we should rejoice that so many stand ready to give worthy counsel. And never, never was there more urgent occasion for doing all that is possible to awaken the young men of our land to a high sense of duty. If we consider our country in connexion with its rapid growth and increasing prosperity, we shall see the necessity of right principles. If we look upon our country in its present position, and notice the selfish and wicked passions which are at work; if we remember how willing our Government has been to plunge itself into the atrocities of war, calling for millions of money to carry on the work of carnage, and sending forth invitations to all sections of the Union to aid in the monstrous iniquity; if we see how indifferent the public mind is to this evil, and how the spirit of war seems still to rule in the human heart, we must become in some measure sensible to the low state of public sentiment in regard to the first principles of Christianity. Ponder the detestable opinions which prevail in regard to military affairs. How few speak as if war was opposed to the direct injunctions of the Gospel. Who believes in the principles of Christian forbearance and love? How popular are military parades, and how ready is the imagination to be dazzled by the glitter of a showy costume, and utterly fascinated and carried away by the gaudy trappings of war! There is an antichristian spirit still active in the public mind, something quite at variance with the mild, loving, forbearing spirit of Jesus. In order to rectify this, we need the strength of our young men. They must come with a manly courage to the rescue of Christian principles. They should feel that the spirit of war is the spirit of Heathenism, and be willing to take a high and honorable stand. There needs to be a wide-spread revolution upon this subject, and Christianity can never exert its due influence until this be effected.
When we look at another evil in our land, with its many abominations, and see how it is extending its fearful influence, we feel that the public mind should be strengthened and enlightened by Christian principle. The enormities of slavery are bringing this country to a crisis. Before the present generation shall have passed away, momentous changes must take place. Who will deny, that in reference to this it is of the utmost importance to have right views fixed in the minds of the young men of America ? Upon their fidelity the future destinies of this land must in a great measure depend.
There is yet another evil, which is increasing, and which demands attention. It may be a difficult thing upon which to speak or to act, but who can consider it and not feel that something should be done? The vice of licentiousness is one upon which many persons feel that they should be dumb; and yet society by it is corrupted, and the festering evil is eating away the very heart of our land. The statistics upon this subject are alarming. Those who have investigated the real condition of things, state that the extent of this vice is almost beyond conception, and is increasing. What shall be done? Can we stand idle ? Are infamous houses to remain thickly scattered through our cities ? Shall our young men be left to sink deeper and deeper into this horrible iniquity ? Is nothing judicious except silence ? And is there wisdom in nothing save utter inaction ? We are sensible of the difficulties surrounding this subject, but we ask for it thought. Certainly our young men, the vigor and strength of our land, may be spoken to. How many among them would stand aghast at this evil, and be willing to exert themselves to the utmost to remove it.
There are other subjects upon which we might dwell, but we have already occupied more space than we intended. We would, in bringing these remarks to a close, call upon young men to devote themselves to every work of good, — to be decided in their allegiance to virtue, — to feel that in every walk of life they may be the fearless advocates of right, and the faithful and uncompromising witnesses of truth. There is no one so void of influence as not to be able to accomplish something. His daily life, his consistent conduct, his earnest speech will not be without their effect.
We would add one word on another point. If there be those who are now engaged in study and who are doubtful to what profession they shall dedicate their powers, we would ask them to consider well the Christian ministry. We need here more, earnest, faithful minds. There is a vast work to be accomplished. And there is no labor more delightful and satisfactory to a true spirit. The diffusion of truth and the redemption of man may well inspire the loftiest powers, and give new energy to a soul desirous of not living wholly in vain. It is also an interesting thought, that all the studies and duties connected with the labors of a minister of the Gospel are of an elevating nature. No one will doubt the truth of a remark by Dr. Arnold, recorded in Stanley's interesting memoir of him. In speaking of the Christian minister, he says, — “The very studies which would most tend to make him a good and wise man, do therefore of necessity tend to make him a good clergyman. And Coleridge in his “Biographia Literaria” says, “ The Church presents to every man of learning and genius a profession, in which he may cherish a rational hope of being able to unite the widest schemes of literary utility with the strictest performance of professional duties.” In addition to this, we might speak of the peculiar opportunities which the minister constantly enjoys of accomplishing good. We trust that many of our young men of promise and of power will be ready to consecrate themselves to the cause of the Gospel.
But all men may be ministers in their separate spheres. They may, by their fidelity and general excellence, exemplify the principles of justice and truth. And certainly if ever there was a period in the history of the world when every man should be faithful to duty, this is the time.
R. C. W.
ART. X. — JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH.
“Blessed are the pure in heart ; for they shall see God.” “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
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