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There must be reservoirs to hold supply,
HONOUR UNTO THE WEAKER VESSEL. Nothing knits hearts closer than a sympathy of feeling and sentiment, brought out into a stronger light by opportunity of acting in concert. And, indeed, in these hard selfish days we want a bond of union, and we ought to encourage everything that would tend to make young people more simple in their tastes, more affectionate, less fond of ridiculing warmth of feeling and lofty aspirations. Many a young woman, whose heart glows with kind feeling, assumes a habit of saying sarcastic things, from a dread of being thought romantic or sentimental. Many a girl is accused of heartlessness and frivolity, because she has been trained from childhood to say she despises poetry and heroics. It is the fashion of the day to bring up girls on the principle of looking after the main chance; and yet people wonder that they meet with young ladies in society, vulgar-minded, interested and mercenary, in spite of accomplishment and grace. A dread of making a bad match, or of dying an old maid, is instilled into girls; they look upon the space between their first entering the world and their marriage as a sort of transition state, something too uncertain to be worth thinking of. As long as they do not neglect some of their self-evident duties, as daughters, and sisters, and Christians, (for I am not speaking of girls brought up altogether without religion,) they are satisfied that nothing more will be required of them, and they never imagine it necessary to think of accounting for time and money wasted on things that bring no real pleasure, and that end in weariness of spirit.
We must all have something to fix our energies and minds upon. Men have public life, professions, business; women, till they marry, (excepting in particular cases,) nothing. Why it is, I do not undertake to say; but it is an admitted fact, that there are more single ladies in the world now than there used to be, and yet nobody seems to believe that they are so from their own choice. And certainly the education so common now-a-days, unfits women for a single life to a remarkable degree. Now if children were brought up to love the Church as something real and tangible, to mingle more poetry and sentiment with their religion, to consider this life as a mere passage to another, and to behold in the Church the type of the heavenly Jerusalem, their feelings and tastes would insensibly take a loftier tone; they would think more of God, and less of themselves ; that flippancy and love of ridicule, which is so common among girls otherwise amiable, would vanish, they would become more humble, and at the same time more dignified ; that restless craving for attention, that love of display, which we see carried even into religion, would be lessened, if not destroyed, by a real enthusiasm for art, consecrated to the adornment of the Church; in their companions they would see fellow-pilgrims and sisters in Christ, instead of acquaintances to be cherished one day, and cast off for more agreeable friends another. If they married, their path would be self-evident, and their former habits would not interfere with the performance of their new duties; but if, as the chances seem against their forming new ties, they are destined to a single life, then the full value of the tastes and habits they have acquired will shine forth.
The Church is indeed a home for the lonely; a single life enables persons to devote themselves more entirely to heavenly things, without neglecting every-day duties.-From Aunt Eleanor's Lectures.
THE DUTIES OF CHURCHMEN AT THE PRESENT
CRISIS. The state of the world at large is a cause of deep grief to the sincere Churchman. Principles subversive of order, and destructive of all that good men hold dear are widely and unblushingly advocated. Philosophical theories of religion are broached with all the skill and ability that the opponents of Christianity can bring to bear upon the subject. Rationalism and infidelity in all its varied phases have led many captive, and drawn them away from the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.” An altar has been erected in honour of reason, and many have been found to offer sacrifice thereon. The Church of Christ, that branch of it to which we belong, is made an object of attack on all hands, and now, as at first, she is called upon to suffer. This is one side of the question, and it is a sad and painful one. But there is also another which has been too much lost sight of by those who are disposed to murmur, and repine that all is not as their earnest souls would have it be. There may, it is true, be dark clouds hovering over us : deep shadows may have gathered around : but midst all there are signs and tokens of better things : there is perceptible amidst all a light that promises a still more glorious one ; and from out the storm there comes a voice, cheering and consoling and raising the drooping spirits, “it is I, be not afraid.”
The tokens to which we allude are the increased energy and activity of Churchmen; the awakenened sense of long-forgotten and neglected duties, and the due estimation of long-despised privileges ; works of faith, such as would have done honour to any age, as, for instance, S. Augustine's, Canterbury ; S. Peter's, Radley, the institution for nurses and sisters, the restoration of sacred fanes in a spirit of self-denial and love, not counting the cost for the sake of Him, to Whose honour the work is done; the building of cottages for the poor, and the strenuous efforts made to better their temporal and spiritual condition; the noble labours of the Tithe Redemption Trust to redeem and give back to the Church that of which the spoiler hath defrauded her; and lastly, the deep yearnings after unity, which are actively working in all parts of the world; and although the basis on which this is sought to be raised is false, yet the fact is the same. It is a strong evidence of the desire for the acquisition of the blessing.
Because of these things we cannot despair. They are cheering indications, on which we ever love to dwell. They inspire hopes which, if we are faithful to our God, our Church, and ourselves, may yet be realized. The eye of faith sees behind the cloud the hand of God guiding and directing the course of events. There is much of comfort in the thought, so beautifully expressed by Spenser, that
Whatever thing is done, by Him is done,
And yet though He directs, man must labour. God employs means for the accomplishment of His gracious purposes. And therefore it is in a humble spirit that we would venture to suggest one or two of the duties of Churchmen at the present juncture, and the means by which they may labour for Him.
I. The more danger increases, and the nearer we approach the latter days, the more watchful should we be to guard against the accuser of the brethren, the enemy who goeth about, as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And therefore the first duty of Churchmen is with themselves. It is imperative upon them to illustrate in their lives the principles they profess, and to show
forth God's praise not only by their lips but by their lives. The first requirement, therefore, is increased individual holiness, to the end that the whole Church may be pure and holy, and zealous of good works. And to this end every one is bound to use the means placed in his reach, and to avail himself of those blessed privileges which the Church offers him. Such, especially, are daily prayers and frequent communions. Upon these subjects we confess there is a negligence that pains us deeply. How professing Churchmen can neglect the place where prayer is wont to be made, we are at a loss to imagine. The professional man, the tradesman, the mechanic, the labourer, can by a little self-denial and exertion, attend at all events sometimes during the week. The body needs support to enable it to discharge its functions, and to sustain labour; so the soul demands spiritual food in order to strengthen it for conflict with its ghostly enemies, and for advancement in holiness. Without food the body withers and dies; lacking spiritual food, the soul becomes palsied and dead. None would undertake a long journey without ample provisions; more than the pilgrim's staff is needed to bear the pilgrim on his way. Food once a week would ill suffice to keep the body in vigour. Food on a Sunday for the soul cannot sustain spiritual graces in fulness. We need daily renewal, daily support, daily strength, and how can we gain this but by earnest prayer. On our own account we should attend the offices of the Church, that we may be benefited by mutual prayer : on the account of others we should do so, that we may pray for their salvation, and so in time they may be brought in. But, says the tradesman, I cannot leave my business. What not for half an hour a day at least. Is it not written, “Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all other things shall be added unto you.” Will these excuses avail in the day of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be opened. Is it not an awful subject for us to consider—the fate of those who made excuses when called to the supper—and is it not more fearful to remember that their excuses were of the same character as those alleged now, family cares, business claims, and merchandise. Oh, may there be a solemn taking to heart of this important subject—and a greater willingness on our part to give to God an offering which does not cost us nothing. Of frequent communion we shall speak in a separate paper. Again we repeat-holiness unto the Lord in every merober is the first demand of the Church.
II. A spirit of brotherly love towards one another, and towards those who are without, seems especially called for. One great evil that wounds us sorely, is a miserable, carping, controversial temper, from which springs “all uncharitableness.” And no wonder. There may be right faith without right practice; and men may reason about theology, until they forget that those who are followers of Christ should adorn the doctrine of Jesus their Saviour in all things. And yet, though this be the case, the present is essentially an age of controversy. Within, in the Church, are sad divisions, and envyings, and discord. There is no unity among the brethren. Each looks on another with suspicion and distrust. Each accuses the other, and the appeal “Sirs, ye are brethren,” is but little heeded. The unseemly sight of brethren, · bound by the same vows, walking the same way, gathered within the same sacred enclosure, adopted of the same father, washed by the same baptismal dew from heaven, children of the same mother the Church, marring the graceful peace of the family circle is daily witnessed. No longer, we fear, can it be said, “ Behold, how these Christians love each other.” But surely this should not be. What if there exist difference opinion upon some points; what if different views be taken, where the Church has not plainly spoken; surely this may exist, and yet the greatest of the Christian graces, charity, exist at the same time. Upon grand questions we are in the main agreed; those, at least, who acknowledge the authority of the Church, and endeavour to obey her commands. Why then should we not be more of the same mind in the exercise of love, loving as brethren. Mutual forbearance in things indifferent is the second demand of the Church; “where,” says Dr. Hook, “there is a doubt as to the intention of the Church, each man must exercise his own judgment; let him be fully persuaded in his own mind, and the liberty which he claims for himself, let him extend to others.” By this law we shall be at peace among ourselves, following peace with all men, and holiness, “ without which no man shall see the LORD."
Towards those without, also, we must adopt a different line of procedure. There exist, unhappily, very great and important differences; and therefore to decry controversy altogether would be to require an impossibility. The truth must be maintained. Difficulties must be met and facts fairly considered. But then there is no need of the controversial spirit. If our object be to win back those who have strayed from the fold, we should imitate the example of our Lord Himself, Who was all love and gentleness. At present those who are most in controversy seem to consider that truth can only be defended by opprobrious, not to say insulting epithets. Harsh unkind terms appear to add point, and to give strength, where argument fails. Now many of those without are really anxious for unity, and shall we be less so. Nay, rather let us set them an example. And whilst we stand “ fast in the faith," and “quit us like men,” let us remember the advice of the Apostle, so that all our deeds may be done with charity. Were we as anxious to seek for points of agreement, as for those of difference, unity would be sooner attained. Love will win-anger drive away.
These then-personal holiness, unity among ourselves, charity towards those that are without, seem to us three chief requirements