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" Turn away
confessed, “I saw among the spoil a goodly Babylonish garment, and wedge of gold,” etc.; and “I coveted them, and took them.” " And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned him with fire, and raised over him a great heap of stones.” The wife of Lot“ looked back," and she became a pillar of salt. Well might David in his repenting moments pray, mine eyes from beholding vanity.”
• Eye-gate,” in Bunyan's allegory, is the most easily and the most frequently assailed of all the entrances to “ Mansoul.” The truth of this representation none will doubt. What day passes in which we have not to call in our own roving glances, and to reprove the “look” of others ? How instantaneous is the entrance of evil, if the eye be left unguarded! Even aged Jacob found it needful to “make a covenant with his eyes "-to bind and oblige them, as it were, not to trespass or wander unlawfully. And the wisest of men, when he counselled his readers to “keep the heart with all diligence, since out of it are the issues of life," added, as a kindred caution—“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.” Not from lust only, or from gold, strive to keep thine eyes ; the temptations are manifold. “Look not upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup ;" for "at the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”
The Christian dispensation is deemed less burdensome and stringent than that of the law. It is so in ritual, but not in morals. In this matter we find it
rather more tenacious than less so. Christ Himself explained, in the very commencement of His ministry, that a lustful look had the essence and the criminality of adultery itself. And one of the counsels and injunctions which was repeated in His teaching concerned the peril of a roving eye. In one of His earliest sermons (Matt. v.) He said: “If thy eye offend thee (or lead thee to offend), pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” And after His transfiguration, and shortly before His journey to Jerusalem to suffer and to die, He repeats the same counsel :—“If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire” (Matt
. xviii.). What stronger language could be used ? what more earnest or decided counsel given? The eye is chiefly & receptive organ; its outgoings, its actions on others, are few. Yet so perilous are often its motions, so destructive to the soul, that if it could not be restrained it were even better extirpated. These are thoughts and suggestions so weighty, that they require to be deeply pondered. On a hasty glance, the mind is almost ready to revolt from them. Yet they fell from His lips who knew what was in man, and could measure as no other man can do the infinite distance between heaven and hell, and the infinite importance of an admittance into the one and an escape from the other.—Quiver.
A LESSON FROM AN OLD GUN-POST. STANDING one day to watch the removal out producing any apparent effect; the of a gun-post from the magazine at gun-post stood unshaken. Heated and P-, I was struck with the amount of weary, the men laboured on; still the time, labour, and perseverance needed earth, from the pressure of years, rein order to remove what appeared to fused to yield to the pick.
a very simple obstacle. Several The work thoroughly engrossed my workmen were employed in loosening interest; so I lingered on the spot, to the earth around the post with their watch for the result. One hour elapsed pick-axes. Stroke after stroke fell with- before the toil and perseverance of the
labourers met with any reward. Then “second nature ;” and nature alas is the earth, so firmly fixed for years, was strong enough! What then, are we loosened; and now, no longer held by it, to give up in despair? Are sinful habits the post tottered, would yield to the to grow among us? Surely not. Let touch of childhood, and fell before the us look once again at the prostrate gunwill of the workmen.
post, and learn to improve the lesson it Musing, I turned away. Ah! me- would teach us. thought, our evil, sinful habits resemble It is a sad fact that in too many, if that post, as it stood. Like it, they too not in all Christians, yes, and earnest have been fixed by the hand of Time in Christians too, one evil habit is allowed Nature's soil, and are unwilling to yield to counteract all other good qualities, their sway over us. Need the analogy, and to mar the character, proving dehowever, stop here ? No. May we not structive of all influence for good with in the prostrate post find too a parallel others. Irritability, selfishness, slcth-even in the habit overcome ? Pur- fulness, covetousness, censoriousnesssuing the same course in both instances, any of these, or some other alike evilmay we not meet with the same result ? habitually yielded to by the Christian; and Surely yes; there is encouragement for whatever his other attainments, however all to toil on in the work of subduing sincere and earnest his endeavours to any known evil habit.
walk worthy of his high calling, we unstroke of the pick, i.e. resistance, the hesitatingly state his character is compower
of any such will become less, till pletely marred, his spiritual growth deit will yield entirely before persevering layed, if not out of the question altogether, effort.
and his influence with others for their good Let us however bear in mind con- blighted. Very little reflection will continually, that our own unaided effort or vince any that these defects, or their resistance is analogous to the pick, and like, are only too common among pronot, as many imagine, to the arm which fessing Christians of the present day. wields it. Powerless to produce any The besetting sin, the one prevailing bad effect, the pick would have lain: upon habit, perhaps indulged in from infancy, the ground had not the arm of man is too often glozed over by the Christian. raised and directed it. So with human If its existence be not ignored in effort to subdue evil in the heart or toto, yet the resistance it meets with is life-equally powerless unless the arm of but feeble. One rests too often content God, i.e. His Holy Spirit, help and with simply mourning over its existence direct such efforts. Ah! as vain to pro- and dominion over self. duce the wished for result as the pick For the sake of our influence with would have proved had not the arm of others, ah! for our own sake too, let man touched it!
it be so no longer with us, dear reader.
Let us, upon our knees, beneath the That, useless, at his fect would lie, cross, search for and discover our one
Had he no arm to move :
evil habit or habits; then, having found Will human effort prove.
such, let us manfully and daily strive
against it or them, in persevering deFellow-Christians, you know the
pendence upon the strength of God. power of habit, the difficulty in re- Success is certain ; for, strong as the moving one of long growth or standing. power of habit is, there is a strength The experience of every heart will tes- which is stronger. In it we must overtify to the truth that it becomes a come.
F. B. W.
ONE DISH.—Like as one dish of meat, well chewed and digested, will comfort nature more than divers delicacies that lie raw and undigested in the stomach : even so one good book, often and thoroughly read, will do thy soul more good than the superficial sight and taste of a thousand.
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LESSONS FOR THE LITTLE ONES. THE HUSBANDMEN AND VINE
all this had been done, the owner of the YARD.
vineyard let it out to husbandmen or
labourers, and went into a - ? (far Mark xii. 1-9.
country.) At the season when the fruit WHICH of you little ones can tell me was ripe, whom did he send to the huswhat a vineyard is ? What grow on
bandmen? What did they do to him ? vines ?
Did he send again, and again? At last We have no vineyards in England, be- whom did he send ? And what did they cause the country is too cold for them; do to him? How were those wicked but in Palestine, where our Lord lived husbandmen punished ? when He was on earth, the climate is Now, in this parable our Lord meant much warmer; and there almost every by the wicked husbandmen God's own one had his own vineyard. Vines and peculiar people, the Jews. He had given vineyards and grapes are often mentioned them His holy word and commandments; in Scripture: Lev. xix. 10; Ps. lxxx. 8; they were the only people to whom He Isa. xvi. 10; Mic. iv. 4. When Moses had spoken and revealed Himself; all sent a number of men to spy out other nations worshipped idols. And the land of Canaan (Num. xiii. 23), God expected that the Jews would keep they returned with so large a cluster of His laws, and love and serve Him truly. grapes that it had to be carried on a But no, from the time when He had staff between two men. In the New first brought them out of Egypt down Testament also our Lord often makes to the time of our Lord's coming on mention of vineyards in His parables earth, they had continually provoked (Matt. xx. 1; xxi. 28; Luke xiii. 6); Him, and forsaken His laws, and gone and in John xv. 1 He compares Him- after other gods. And when He sent self to a vine.
His prophets to warn and reprove them, Now let us see what the parable we and bid them turn to the Lord with all have just read is about. A certain man their hearts, and bring forth fruits planted a -?_(vineyard), and set a meet for repentance, they would not hedge about it. This was to keep out the hearken to them, or turn, or repent, wild beasts and foxes and anything but only hardened themselves in their that might hurt it; the foxes were very evil ways. At last He sent His own fond of grapes, and used to trample Son; and what did they do to Him ? down the vineyards (Cant. ii. 15). And Shall I tell you how God punished digged a place for the--? (winefat.) the Jews for all their wickedness? In Do you know what that is?—(No.) less than forty years after our Lord was What is made from grapes ?- (Wine.) crucified, the Romans (a great and Yes, and the winefat or winepress was the powerful nation) came and took the place where the wine-makers pressed out city of Jerusalem ; very many of the the juice of the grapes. They threw Jews were destroyed,-some by famine the grapes into large vats, or sometimes and pestilence, some by fire and sword; they dug a place in the ground like a and all those who escaped were scattered trough, into which the grapes were abroad all over the world, so that their thrown, and then a man would get in descendants have never had a settled and tread upon them until all the home since. juice was pressed out; and that was I have chosen this subject to talk called the winepress or winefat.
about to-day, because I want to tell What more did the man do who you that God has given each of us a planted the vineyard ?--(Built a tower.) vineyard to take care of,—to me, and Yes; each vineyard had small house
you, and you; we are each of us the or tower in the midst of it, for the keeper of a vineyard. What do I keeper of the vineyard to live in. When mean?-(Don't know.) What part of us
is it that will live for ever?-(Soul.) Well, I mean that we each of us have a soul to take care of. Some people take care of their souls, and some don't; some are good husbandmen, and some are bad. We all take care of our bodies, don't we? we feed and clothe and warm them, and give them rest at night; we never forget to take care of them; but a great many of us forget to take care of our souls. God comes very often to see whether we are taking care of them or not, whether there is any fruit there for Him.
Do you know what fruit God wants from our souls? He wants love, He wants us to love Him; that is the fruit He wants; and is it anything so very hard He asks of us, do you think? God comes very often to each one of us, and we can imagine Him to say, “Is there any fruit for Me here? does this soul love Me yet ?” or this one ? or this? He is looking at the soul of each of you little ones, and asking that now. I wonder what answer He gets ; does He hear “No” from each of you—“ No, I don't love Him yet;" “ No, not yet” ? If that is the answer you all give, then God goes away disappointed. He has come and looked for fruit in your souls, and you have none to give Him. Oh, don't send Him away with that answer any more; give Him the fruit He wants; say, “Yes, Lord, I want to love Thee; do Thou make me love Thee more and more, and bring forth fruit to Thy glory.”
Can you think of any other insect which is always busy? What insect is mentioned in the hymn which begins, “How doth the little busy-"? --(Beé, teacher.) Yes ; the bees work very hard all the summer, making a store of honey for the winter, when they know they will not be able to get any.
What lesson may we learn from the ant and the bee? Yes; to do all we do busily and heartily.
Solomon says, “ Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Eccles. ix. 10). Do you always do that? When you are at school, or doing something for your mother, do you never waste your time, or try how little you can do without being punished, instead of trying to do as much as you can? When you are sent on an errand, do you never loiter on the way ? You fall in with some companions perhaps, and stop to have a game or a chat with them; or you idle along the street, looking in at the shop windows as you go, and so take twice as long about your errand as you need. I call that being idle and slothful; and if you act in that way you are like the sluggard, and not like the ant.
Listen while I read another verse to you from the Book of Proverbs (Prov. xviii. 9). What do you waste when you are slothful ?—(Time.) Besides loitering over anything you are given to do, and wasting time in that way, do you never waste time in lying in bed in the morning, when you ought to be up helping your mother or getting ready for school ? You can't make up your mind perhaps to get up when you are called. You are so comfortable, you must just have a few mirutes more: yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep. And then, when you do jump out of bed at last, you have to hurry into your clothes, you have no time to make yourself clean and tidy, still less to kneel down and say your prayers. Then when you come downstairs you are scolded for being so late, and called a lazy child, and most likely you get out of temper; and so the day begins badly, just because you cannot make up your mind to get up a
IDLENESS AND SLOTH.
Proverbs vi. 6-11. Now, little ones, listen attentively while I read these verses to you. What sort of a person is a sluggard ? From what is such an idle, slothful being told to learn a lesson? What does the ant do for herself ?-(Ver. 8.) Did you ever watch an ant carrying or dragging a load two or three times as large as itself, sometimes perhaps having two or three others to help it? How busy they seemed to be !