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SOLEMN THOUGHTS FOR YOUNG CHURCH MEMBERS.
BY THE EDITOR.
WITNESS ye men and angels, now,
That long as life itself shall last,
There are periods in the life of every one upon which he looks back with peculiar interest. There are, as travellers tell us, in the midst of the hot sandy deserts of the east, here and there green and shady spots, where it is joy to rest when weary, and upon which memory often dwells with pleasure after they are left behind. So, there are spots in the past part of our earthly pilgrimage, where we would fain have tarried longer
where we, like the delighted disciples on Tabor, would have been willing to build tabernacles, and to have remained for life. Such a spot was that at which we knelt to make our first public vows unto God, and where in the spirit of full self-dedication, we said,
"Here Lord, I give myself away,
Though years have since passed away-though time has wrought his mournful changes on us, and in us, and round us, yet how fresh in our recollection is that impressive season. Even now we almost hear again the minister's voice, and feel the pressure of his hands upon our head; and at the remembrance of that blessed time, all the feelings which then swelled our penitent bosoms, are ready to start up again in all their freshness. Oh how broken and melted were our hearts-how willing were we to be the Lord's! how ready, like Mary, to wash our Saviour's feet with the tears of our penitence. How happy were our hearts! how glad were we that restraining grace had brought us into such a blessed fellowship with Christ. Then our feelings were like those expressed in the Hymn :
"My willing soul would stay
And sing, and bear herself away
There is no doubt that these are to some extent the feelings of all those who have received the solemn rite of confirmation, and have become full members of the Church. Oh that the same willingness to be the Lord's may follow them all to their latest hour; that they may have reason to cherish it as among the happiest recollections of their life.
We feel sure that the solemn occasion referred to itself cannot easily
be forgotten by them, and hence we have reason also to hope that a few words said in reference to it will be laid to heart and remembered. For this reason we desire to direct your attention, young friends, to some solemn truths-truths, that should impress themselves indelibly upon. your minds and hearts-truths, that should come up in your memories in the hour of temptation, and which should be associated in your minds with your confirmation till life's last enemy is conquered, and you shall be sweetly released from warrings of earth in the rest of a life everlasting.
For this purpose we can think of nothing more suitable than to remind you of the words of warning spoken in reference to Judas. Listen! are not these solemn words? "Wo unto that man by whom the son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born!" These are not only solemn words in themselves, but they are peculiarly so as the words of our Saviour, uttered in reference to an unfaithful and wicked disciple, in that last doleful night, when for our sakes, he was betrayed into the hands of his enemies. They are especially suitable to be thought of by all who have taken on them solemn Vows of faithfulness to Jesus Christ, in view of the fact that many in like manner betray Him after their vows, and all are strongly beset with temptations so to do. Let us behold the rock on which he was wrecked, and avoid it for our life.
Who was he that betrayed the son of man? Was it not one of the twelve. The very nature of his crime presupposes him to have been an intimate friend of the Saviour professedly. It was not a persecution of Christ-neither was it a denial of him, but it was a betrayal. Judas never opposed Christ, and he never denied his connection with him. On the contrary, he always professed to be his warm and faithful friend. He lay a very serpent in the Saviour's bosom! In the Saviour's most confidential intercourse with his disciples, he mingled as one of them. He heard His words-knew His plans and schemes-he knew always where He was, and what He intended to do. Even in that lonely company in the upper room, there is Judas partaking with them of the solemn passover. He is therefore the right man, to aid his enemies in planning his ruin-all that is needed is, that he should be sufficiently wicked to do the work.
It is just as if you should, in kindness take some one into your family, admit him into all the secrets of your heart, home and business, whilst he should, at the same time be in league with some persons who are bent on your ruin. Is any one wicked enough to do this? And if there is —is there any name sufficiently black by which that act may be called? Yes, call him a betrayer! This is the very spirit of Satan. He came to our first parents in the character of a friend; and so he still appears, as the arch deceiver, in the robes of an angel of light.
See our Saviour's Betrayer! He goes out silently in the night from the room in which He and His disciples were eating the last supper-he wends his way to the High-priest's palace, and soon he communes with those who sought our Saviour's life. There he stands before "the Chief priests and captains," and-hear him!" What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you ?"
It is but a short time after, and the betrayer with a band of men, is
drawing up towards Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Now hear him once more-" Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; hold him fast!" A little while longer, and the deed is done; for we read: “And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, Master; and kissed him."
This is the Betrayer!
You are horrified and incensed at the blackness of the deed. But wait; let not our indignation rise too high against this open friend, but secret enemy of our adorable Saviour. In condemning him, we may condemn ourselves, or some that are near us. The children of Judas are not yet all dead. Behold, are not those who tread in his footsteps still alive and with us unto this day? Are there not those who walk with Christ professedly who are his betrayers at heart. Are there not those, who once sat with him at his table-who once mingled with him and his people in the most confidential fellowship, who are now with his enemies, and are every day disgracing that holy religion which they once so ardently professed. Who are all those backsliders-those who, instead of adhering closely and affectionately to Christ in all his ordinances, as they vowed to do, are now walking in the counsel of the ungodly, standing in the way of sinners, and even sitting in the seat of the scornful? Did not they once bend at his altar and there record their vows of faithfulness to him? Were they not once among his children, at his holy Table, the professed followers of Him whom they now betray?
Ah, yes, the world is yet full of the children of Judas; and it is these false and unfaithful friends of Christ who do him the greatest harm. It is among those who are by profession his, that we must seek for his worst enemies. It is in the heart of him who cries, "Hail Master," that we must look for the blackest treachery. It is behind the friendly kiss, that we must seek for the viper's tongue, and for the fangs which conceal poison and death. Those who are crying, "crucify him, crucify him!" are the very same ones who a short time before spread palm-branches in his way, and cried Hosanna!
Does not the same still take place. How often are those lips and tongues, which profane the sacred name of Jesus, which sing the songs of the drunkard, and which make merry with fools over holy things—how often are they the same which once vowed at the altar, and received the emblems of the Saviour's body and blood! Is not this Judas-like? How often has our Saviour reason to complain, in the language of David, who was his type, "yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man, mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company."-Ps. 55. 12 14.
To this same danger, you young friends are also exposed. Will you not jealously guard your hearts against it? When the solemn transaction of your public dedication to Christ is over, will you steal away, and join again the enemies of the cross; exclaiming, like Peter, "I know not the man; or like Judas, "This is he; hold him fast.”
Nay; we hope better things of you. Surely you will not forget vows so solemnly made.
When any turn from Zion's way-
A MOTHER'S LOVE.
THE following passage from a speech of Wendell Phillips is at once full of beauty and great lessons. We especially commend it to young men who have not learned the importance of total abstinence from intoxicating liquors :
I was told to-day, a story so touching in reference to this, that you must let me tell it. It is the story of a mother on the hills of Vermont, holding by the right hand a son only sixteen years old, mad with the love of the sea. And as she stood by the garden gate, one sunny morning, she said: "Edward, they tell me that the great temptation of a seaman's life is drink-Promise me before you quit your mother's hand that you will never drink." And said he-for he told me the story"I gave her the promise, and I went the broad globe over-Calcutta, the Mediterranean, San Francisco, the Cape of Good Hope, the North Pole and the South-I saw them all in forty years, and I never saw a glass filled with sparkling liquors, that my mother's form by the garden gate, on the green hills of Vermont, did not rise before me! and to-day at sixty, my lips are innocent of the taste of liquor."
Was not that sweet evidence of the power of a single word. Yet that was not one half. "For," said he, "yesterday, there came a man into my counting room, a man of forty, and asked me," "do you know me?" "No." "Well," says he, "I was once brought drunk into your presence on ship-board; you were a passenger; the captain kicked me aside; you took me to your berth and kept me there until I had slept the sleep of intoxication; you then asked me if I had a mother; I said I never knew a word from her lips; you told me of yours at the garden gate, and to-day I am the master of one of the finest packets in New York, and I came to ask you to call and see me." How far that little candle throws its beams! That mother's word on the green hill side of Vermont! Oh, God be thanked for the almighty power of a single word.
MORE TRUTH THAN POETRY.
""Tis folly in the extreme to till
THE WIFE'S EXPERIMENT.
BY KATE CAMERON.
"MA, Why don't you ever dress up ?" asked little Nellie Thornton, as her mother finished brushing the child's hair, and tying her clean apron. There was a momentary surprise on Mrs. Thornton's face; but she answered, carelessly, "O, no one cares how I look."
"Don't Pa love to see you look pretty?" persisted the child. The mother did not reply, but involuntarily she glanced at her slovenly attire, the faded and worn calico dress and dingy apron, both bearing witness to an intimate acquaintance with the dish-pan and stove-the slip-shod shoes and soiled stockings-and she could not help remembering how she had that morning appeared with uncombed hair, and prepared her husband's breakfast before he left home for the neighboring markettown. "Sure enough!" mused she, "how I do look!" And then Memory pointed back a few years to a neatly and tastefully dressed maiden, sometimes busy in her father's house, again mingling with her young companions, but never untidy in her appearance, always fresh and blooming, and this, she knew full well, was a picture of herself when Charles Thornton first won her young heart. Such was the bride he had taken to his pleasant home-how had mature life fulfilled the prophecy of youth?
She was still comely in features, graceful in form, but few could call her handsome or an accomplished woman; for, alas! all other characteristics were overshadowed by this repulsive trait. Yet she loved to see others neat, and her house and children did not seem to belong to her, so well kept and tidy did they always look. As a housekeeper she excelled, and her husband was long in acknowledging to himself that he had married an incorrigible sloven.
When, like too many young wives, she began to grow negligent in regard to her dress, he readily excused her in his own mind, and thought "she is not well," or, "she has so much to do," and perceiving no abatement of his kind attentions, she naturally concluded he was perfectly satisfied. As her family affairs increased, and she went less into company, she became still more careless of her personal appearance, and contented herself with seeing that nothing was lacking which could contribute to the comfort of her husband and children, never supposing that so trivial a matter as his own apparel could possibly affect their happiAll this chain of circumstances hitherto unthought of, passed before her, as the little prattler at her side repeated the query,―
"Don't Pa love to see you look pretty ?"
"Yes, my child," she answered, and her resolve was taken; she would try an experiment, and prove whether Mr. Thornton were really indifferent on the subject, or not. Giving Nellie a picture book with which to amuse herself, she went to her own room, mentally exclaiming, "at any rate, I'll never put on this rig again; not even on washing day."