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WHERE ARE YOU GOING? “Where are you going?” is an enquiry that meets us in the common salutation of friends; we hear it in the crowded avenue, the dusty street, the thronged marketplace, the retired and pleasant family circle, the saloons of the gay, and the lighted parlour of the wealthy and fashionable. Where are you going? you of early youth, you of ripening manhood, you of maturer years, you of declining age, you who tremble on the brink of a yawning grave, where are you going? Are you going to drown the thought of a coming eternity, or a sad and gloomy retrospect, in the amusements of the vicious, licentious, and profane? Are you going to perform some act of covert infamy, which may secure for you a position more exalted in the world, and a controlling power delightful to your impoverished and feeble heart ? Are you going to the gilded and sumptuous palace, whose fascinations and luxuries are as false lights, held out by the murderous hand of the wrecker on a rocky and stormy coast, that will only lure you on to destruction, and a wide engulfing grave? Where are you going? This is an enquiry which we all must answer, in life or in death, in time or in eternity.
If we meet the enquiry while the pulse of life beats fullest and quickest, meet it as observing angels may counsel and approve, then shall life lose all its racking tortures and soul-piercing sting. But if we will not meet the enquiry, while mercy hangs above us, like a summer cloud, ready to moisten and refresh us with its descending waters, only the cycles of eternity shall measure the tremendous and overwhelming weight of our torment. We are all going to the grave,—we are all going to the judgment-bar of the Almighty,—we are all going to the plains, and the streams, and the music of a world of light, and bliss, and glory; or we are going to the liquid fires and the burning tortures of a hell of ceaseless misery. This we should always remember. We are transient beings, whose stay upon earth is compared in Holy Writ to the frail existence of a flower, that blooms in the morning, is withered at mid-day, and in the evening lies forsaken of its tint, and lustre, and perfume, among the worthless stubble of the valley. We are going, reader--where?
"Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayst
be wise in thy latter end."
PAGB . " I hate Cant” 1 “I'll see about it"
10 Prepared for the Worst
6 The Downward Course ...... 12 NARRATIVES, ANECDOTES, &c.
Preparation for Death
,12 Delays Dangerous
7 To READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS.- Cover, p. 2. A PAGB FOR TAB YOUNG." I WANT TO BE AN ANGEL."-Cover, p. 3.
“No Remedy." - Cover, p. 4.
PRICE ONE EALFPENNY.
BENJAMIN L. GREEN;
TO READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. G. S. (Westbury.) Though much interested in his statement, it is difficult, and may be impossible, for us to relieve his mind of all anxiety. Though “anxious to be saved, and to be delivered from sin, and willing to make any sacrifice to become a child of God, yet he is frequently overpowered by lemptation, and that, too, several times before indifference ceases, and pardon is again earnestly implored. He wants to love his Saviour more, and earth less, and to enjoy a sense of forgiveness."
G. S. may not be aware that what he mentions is common to, perhaps, far the greater part of minds at all earnest in the pursuit of holiness and inward peace. Some, indeed, are enabled at once, through great simplicity and strength of faith, to“go on their way rejoicing." In other minds the struggle is more protracted and severe. It is, however, a struggle which must last in all while we are surrounded by temptation, and 80 susceptible its power
Warfare is the well known symbol of the christian course. It combines, indeed, the difficulties of the warrior and the pilgrim. The Saviour himself sets before us no easy task. We must “strive to enter in at the strait gate ;' we must " watch and pray;" we must “take up the cross." While, however, engaged in a conflict inseparable from a nature like ours pressing into the kingdom of God-a nature which can only " take it by force," as it were-our Heavenly Father does not wish us to be desponding combatants. The certain fact of his free forgiveness through the mediation of Christ, we may unhesitatingly believe,-why should we not? The peace of pardoned sin can only come to us through faith in God's forgiving love. And faith can spring up and grow only by our looking into the fulness and freeness of God's promises in Christ God's method is so simple, that we are ever ready to distrust it. ** Only believe,” saith the Scripture. “I do believe, yet am not happy," is perhaps the reply. But surely you disbelieve the promise, that “all manrier of sin shall be forgiven unto men,” or that “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin;" you disbelieve it in part at least. You would reply,“ No, I believe it quite and thoroughly." We answer, “ You do not believe it in your own case ; you do not believe it, therefore, in the case where faith is hardest." We know others' sins imperfectly; hence we easily think they can be pardoned; but if our eyes are opened, we know our own sins very differently; we know all the inward parleying with temptation, all the first struggles of conscience, and its subsequent yieldings, then our indulging again and again because we once have done it; we call to mind our knowledge, our warnings, and every aggravation hidden from the eye of a fellow-creature. Tois is what renders faith so difficult in our own case. We think we believe that all men can be forgiven ; but we forget that we ourselves are a part of the all men. And we must believe God's freely pardoning us as well as others, before we really believe in the fulness and universalicy of God's pardoning mercy in Christ. Our peaceful and hopeful life with God rests upon our really taking him at his word, that he fully, freely forgives all, therefore us.
Now, faith in pardoning love is the beginning of our strength against sin. dread sin, and yet be overpowered by it; but when God is no longer felt to be angry with us,-when we fully believe that He has no resentment, no vindictiveness like our. selves,—when we believe bis assurance, that in Christ he is reconciled to us, then we can but love a God of love and mercy; and love makes the service easy which fear made a bondage. Gratitude for pardoning mercy in Christ is the beginning and the end of a sinner's happy obedienc Angels obey from adoring love and gratitude for creating and preserving grace. But the distinctive motive to obedience in fallen man, is one added to both of these,-one surpassing all motives furnished to any creature before, -one which, in another world, will only appear overwhelmingly more powerful than it can do to our feeble powers on earth,--that motive, namely, which is expressed in the beautiful words of the apostle, “ Unto Him that hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God and his father, to Him he glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.” Let us not impute to God the dispositions we find it so hard to overcome in ourselves. If our thoughts can hardly ever lose the gloomy tinge of revenge,-is, year after year, ill-will and pleasure in the punishment of one who has wronged us, lurk in human bosoms, let us believe that it is not so with God. He "hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” He delights in his repentance and salvation. God, in a word, is love, forbearing love, pitying love, long-suffering love, forgiving love, self-sacrificing love, accepting love, adopting love, glorifying love, infinite love, eternal love. No fact is more sure than this. Believe it, and it will transform our souls to the human image of his love; and perfect love casteth out fear, and “love is the fulfilling of the law."
A YOUNG DISCIPLE. The question seems to us of no great practical moment, since the Scriptures give no clear answer to it. That the Holy Spirit does convince of sin, is stated John xvi 9; that he alone does is not affirmed Nay, rather, the apostle Paul repeatedly speaks of the Law as performing that office. Practically, therefore, those who desire to see their fellow-creatures awakened to a sense of their sins, should take the course hitherto adopted by all good and earnest men, namely, to explain the Law of God appropriately to those with whom they have to do; and, at the same time, beseech Him in whose hands are the hearts of all, to dispose them to receive the truth.
“I HATE CANT.”
And who does not hate cant? We do as cordially as any of our readers. Yet the world is full of cant. Every good cause, every popular cause, supplies matter for the canters. Does any scheme of social benevolence obtain general approbation, such as Education, Sanitary Reform, or Allotment Systems ? forthwith hundreds who have no interest in such things but that of seeming intelligent or benevolent, adopt the phraseology made current by the sincere and earnest advocates of these objects; they fancy you do not perceive it to be sheer affectation and show-off in their mouths; and it is amu. sing to see how the canters will bandy the lingo amongst themselves too, each supposing that he takes in his fellow-pretender. The same thing is plentifully observable amongst the politicians too; those especially who have enjoyed the advantages which Oxford and Cambridge afford to the sons of our nobility and gentry for comprehend. ing and discussing the affairs of the nation; and also those whose training has been their native sense and the newspaper only; having heard much, indeed, of the speechifying of both, we must give the palm for cant to our University gentlemen,—the “stump orator” far oftener means what he says. When we hear on the one side such phrases as “Our Glorious Constitution,” “Church and State," "The Rights of the Crown,” “Protection to Native Industry,” “The Farmers' Friends,” “No Popery,” and the like, most men of twenty years of age and upwards, quite understand the amount of sincerity or the amount of selfishness and affectation belonging to such language. Nor, as the People have too often discovered, do those who shout aloud for “The People's Rights,” “Equal Political Rights," “The Charter,"
," “ Justice, not Charity,” and so forth, care for them at heart more than those whom they profess to oppose. It is difficult, for instance, to say whether the religious toryism of Lord Eldon, or the patriotic liberalism of John Wilkes, were the viler cant. And then, in addition to those who cant to deceive, there is the very nu-, merous class who cant by mere imitation; with whom it is a kind of unconscious law to use the epithets and phrases in vogue for the day amongst the circle to which they belong. Indeed all classes have their cant. The House of Commons, and the House of Lords, and the Court, doubtless in abundance, though we never heard it, and only read a little of it occasionally; the fashionables and the business men ; the "respectability” and the "mobility;" nay, the
thieves and boys in the street. We might add also a class whom more than
any other we long to redeem for nobler pursuits and worthier em. ployments,—those of our young men who, after the hours of business, may be seen with cigars,or pipes lounging in the streets, or in houses of entertainment, giving themselves the airs of manhood, and bandy. ing discourse between them, below the taste of well traiued children. Cant, meaning thereby the assumption or use of language not ex. pressing our genuine feelings, perhaps almost without any precise meaning at all to our minds, for purposes of vanity, ambition, covet. ousness, or hypocrisy,-cant is, alas, too common in every line, and amongst all classes! It is too easy, and, strange to say, too successful for a time with many, not to ensure both a large supply and a ready market. The mind, too lazy or impatient to think for itself, or too stupid to invent, is competent quite to repeating the jargon of any clique, or of learning the better phrases originated by men earnest in the nobler objects of their pursuit.
But if there be one species of cant more detestable than all the rest, and the very appearance of which we would most sedulously shun, it is cant in connexion with religion. No honourable man of the world, no honest or even bitter sceptic, can loath it more than we do. And we freely acknowledge both its real and apparent frequency. Both by design and thoughtless imitation it is painfully common. Canting tones, canting manners, canting language, are to be heard every day, every Sunday especially, in connexion with religion. It abounds most of course in the sects in which there is most of ceremony and priestly assumption ; but even the more simple forms of worship and religion are not free from it. It is impossible to hear educated men talk of our “apostolical church," "our incomparable liturgy," "ourselves as successors of the apostles," and “Baptismal Regeneration,” “the Martyrs, Charles I. and Laud," and "Crom. well the hypocrite and tyrant,” without perceiving either that all this is miserable cant, or that if it be not, the mental capacities of the speakers are much below what those of a religious teacher ought to be. In Dissenting pulpits too we often hear language which, if quite scriptural in sound, is yet become almost unmeaning in point of fact, and is nothing more than the repetition of trite established phrases from which all the life has quite vanished,—this too we confess to be cant, if not in its worst form; nor are pretenders to sanctity wanting amongst the members of any body of christians whatever.
But now, having frankly owned all this, are we not only to “hate cant," but to believe that “all is cant?" This is the conclusion to which many a reviler of cant would bring us; per baps he forgets that scepticism has its cant quite as much as religion ---quite as large a proportion of stock phrases,-quite as much parrot-like repetition of the language of its dogmas; but if, in any department, we can appeal to a great reality which is unfairly or wickedly used as matter for cant, we can do so in the case of religion. Man does, after all,