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Its style, too, is occasionally peculiar; because he thinks that PARABLE and ALLEGORY are legitimate weapons in "the defence of the Gospel." He has, therefore, attempted to give Oriental forms to old truths, whenever he found it difficult to say, in ordinary language, all that he wished to suggest to the female mind. He has also given that prominence to "the beauty of holiness," which it has in Scripture, in common with the nature and necessity of holiness. This plan and purpose will be adhered to in the succeeding volumes of THE LADY'S CLOSET LIBRARY.

The Author's appeal is to the Mothers and Daughters in British "Israel:" they must be both his patrons and judges, if this well-meant experi ment succeed.

Newington Green, May 24, 1835.


I. A Mother's Hinderances Duly Weighed

II. A Daughter's Principles Analyzed.

III. Emblems of Holiness.

IV. A Matron's Timidity Explained.

V. The Marys at the Cross.
VI. The Marys at the Sepulchre.
VII. Partialities in Holiness.

THIS "CLOSET MANUAL" has a twofold peculiarity. It is addressed exclusively to Females; because the author believes that general appeals on the subject of Sin and Holiness are not well adapted to the conscience of the sex, nor so faithful as they❘ VIII. Christians Holy Temples.





No. I.


Ir is worthy of special observation, that, whilst the earliest prophecies concerning the Church of Christ on earth foretell, chiefly, the numbers of his disciples, the latter prophecies abound in descriptions of their spiritual and moral character. Thus, when God pointed Abraham to the stars of heaven and the sands on the sea shore, as emblems of the Saviour's offspring, it was only their innumerable "multitude" and not their beauty or purity, that was appealed to: but when God pointed David to the dew-drops of the morning," as an emblem of the offspring of Christ, he left their numbers to be inferred, and confined the attention of David to "the beauty" of their "holiness." Psalm cx. The reason for this difference in the revelation of the same fact is obvious; the day of Christ had just been shown to David as a "day of power," which should make people "willing" to follow Christ, and as a period of gracious and unchangeable priesthood, which should encourage them to follow holiness; whereas neither of these facts was fully disclosed to Abraham, when he saw the day of Christ afar off. What was shown to him was, chiefly, the certainty of that day, and not the glory of it; and therefore its results were given in numbers, not in characteristics.

tional; even their enemies "took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus" to some good purpose, so far as exemplary conduct was the effect of their intercourse with him.

Did you ever observe, whilst reviewing the character of the Saviour's early friends, that his female followers soon acquired great beauty of holiness under the influence of his word and example?-There is, indeed, a complete halo of loveliness around the character and spirit of John, "the disciple whom Jesus loved;" and there is much sublimity about Peter, notwithstanding all his faults; and the whole eleven, compared with even the best of the Jews of that time, were emphatically "holy men:" but still, "whatsoever things are pure, and whatsoever things are lovely," abound most among the women of Judea and Galilee, who followed him. There is an exquisite and touching beauty about the holiness of the Marys of Bethlehem and Bethany especially, which eclipses even the excellence of the "holy women of old." We almost forget Abraham's Sarah in the presence of Joseph's Mary, and lose sight of Jacob's Rachel whilst Mary of Bethany is before us. Of them we must say, and even the world will respond the exclamation, "Many daughters have done virtuously," but ye have "excelled them all." Give them of "the fruit" of their own

hands, and their "works will praise them in the gates."

This illustration will apply to the prophecies at large. Just in proportion as they unveil the glory and grace of the Saviour to the Church, they ex- It was not without special design, that the Holy hibit or enforce the necessity and beauty of holiness. Spirit transmitted to posterity so much of the histoThe clearer lights they shed upon the mediatorial ry and character of these distinguished women: he way of acceptance with God, the stronger lights they evidently intended them to be models of female hopour upon the " narrow way which leadeth to ever-liness to their sex. Hence he inspired both Elizalasting life."

This is an interesting fact. It leads us to look back among the first disciples of Christ, who followed him in this "regeneration of life," to notice how far they justified the prophecies, which thus "went before," concerning the beauty of their holiness. Did his first offspring, "the dew of his youth," resemble the dew of the morning in character and spirit? Was he at all glorified in his saints then, as well as "admired by them ?" Now, so far as moral character is one of the essential beauties of holiness, his first disciples were, in general, eminently holy. Whatever they may have been before they left all and followed Christ, afterwards they were emphatically virtuous and upright. For a long time, indeed, their views of the person, work, and kingdom of Christ were very worldly, and even their spirit was ambitious as well as rash; but their general habits were both circumspect and devo

beth and the angel Gabriel to "HAIL" Mary of Bethlehem as "highly favored and blessed among women," and taught the evangelists to depict her peculiar excellences: and not less care did he take to embody the character and embalm the memory of Mary of Bethany. No angel, indeed, pronounced her eulogy, but, what was far better, "Jesus loved Mary," and predicted that her love to him should be “told as a memorial of her" wheresoever the "Gospel should be preached throughout the whole world."

These are not accidents, nor mere incidents in the sacred history; Mary of Bethlehem, like the star of Bethlehem, is evidently placed in the firmament of the Church, as a leading star, to guide wise women, as well as wise men, to Christ, and to teach both how to ponder his sayings, and revere his authority, and cleave to his cross. In like manner, Mary of Bethany, like her own "alabaster box of

precious ointment," is so fully disclosed in all her principles, and so fully poured out in all her spirit before us by the sacred writers, that there can be no doubt but her lovely character was intended to be "as ointment poured forth," inspiring, as well as pleasing. Like the "good part, which shall never be taken from her," the beauty of her holiness can never be uninfluential on either sex, whilst it is the duty of both "to sit at the feet of Jesus," hearing his word; and that will be equally duty and delight in heaven, as well as on earth,

"While breath or being last,

Or immortality endures."

For who, that knows any thing of vital and experimental religion, has not said, in effect, both when remembering past attainments, and when anticipating future progress and enjoyment,

" that I might for ever sit

character. From all we know of the Saviour, we may be quite sure that he would have reproved her himself, had she been either idle or negligent.

upon the contrast of the moment between these sisThey are but very superficial observers, who seize ters, to make out, that Mary was chiefly an amiable piety thar of practical duty. This is a very comNun-like being, who was fonder of contemplative however appearances may seem to justify it. Even mon opinion; but it is utterly at variance with fact, appearances are against it; for nothing is so prominent upon the surface of the case, as the Saviour's approbation of Mary's character. They are, therefore, at issue with both His judgment and testimony, habits against this holy woman. There is nothing who insinuate the charge or suspicion of undomestic to warrant such an imputation. She sat at the feet of Jesus upon this occasion, because Jesus thought proper to open his lips as a minister, when he visited her house as a guest. Besides, His visits to BethaLike Mary, at the Master's feet?" ny were the real sabbaths of the family. Only then, had they the opportunity of hearing the glorious Thus the eye of a Christian, of either sex, and of Gospel in all the fulness of its blessing: and as the whatever sphere in life or godliness, reposes upon opportunity did not occur often, it could not be too Mary of Bethany, whenever it searches for an exfully improved whilst it lasted. Thus, there is no ample of child-like docility, or of angel-like meek-more reason to think Mary inactive or undomestic, ness, in learning of Christ. The spirit of a Chris- because she sat whilst Martha served with unnetian takes her position at the feet of Christ, and tries cessary bustle, than to suspect that those women, to hang upon his lips with her zeal and zest, when-who sanctify the Sabbath most in the house of God, ever it is hungering and thirsting after righteousness. The soul feels instinctively that this is the only way to " be filled" or refreshed by his presence. Accordingly, we have never found much enjoyment or profit, except when we have really sat at "the feet" of Christ, hearing his word for ourselves.Neither in the sanctuary, nor in the closet, have we become holier or happier, when we did not try to place ourselves in the position and spirit of Mary. It will be seen at once, from this application of the example of Mary, that I regard both her place at the feet of Jesus, and her conduct in anointing his feet with "spikenard," as only illustrations of her habitual spirit and general character. Nothing is farther from my intention, because nothing could be more foreign to her real character, than to represent her as merely a meek, contemplative, and retiring Christian. She was, indeed, all this, but she was much more: she was as prompt as Martha in going out of the house to meet Jesus when he sent for her, and in serving him in the house when service was really wanted. It was not wanted when Martha said so. If she had stood in real need of assistance from Mary, the Saviour would not have continued, nor even begun to preach, in the house of Lazarus then: much less would he have commended Mary for sitting still, if she had been neglecting domestic duties. The character of Mary should, therefore, be judged, not by this instance of contrast with Martha's, but by the conduct of Jesus. Now, He certainly would not have thrown his immortal shield so promptly and fully over it, if sloth or selfishness, the love of ease, or the dislike of household duties, had been part of her

are least attentive to the affairs of their own houses. There is, perhaps, no better test of good domestic management all the week at home, than regularity and punctuality of attendance on public worship on the Sabbath. Those who are soonest and oftenest at the feet of Jesus on his own day, are certainly not idle or irregular on other days. It is because they are active, and act on system through the week, that they can make so much of their Sabbaths.

I thus bring out the real character of Mary, that the beauty of holiness may not be supposed to consist in either mere morals or musing. There may be much morality, where there is no holiness; and there may be much holiness, where there are no literary tastes or habits. Neither fondness for public hearing, nor the

"Love of lonely musing,"

is any real proof, by itself, of a new heart, or of a right spirit, before God. Great readers (as they are called) are not often the deepest nor the most serious thinkers, even when their reading is of the best kind; and the contemplative recluse, who lives only to think, or who reckons every thing but mental pleasure insipid is actually indulging "the lusts of the mind," instead of growing in grace or holiness. It may sound well, to say of a sweet enthusiast, whose element is solitude, and whose luxury is emotion, "that she is a being who belongs to another world; her tastes are all so unearthly, and her sympathies so exalted;" but this is no compliment! Indeed, it is a heavy reflection upon both her heart and conscience. A heart that felt aright, or a con

science purified by the blood of atonement, would try to do good by action, as well as to get good by contemplation. No one belongs less to another world (if, by that, heaven is meant) than the being who has neither heart nor hand to be a blessing in this world. Her tastes may be unearthly; but heavenly, they certainly are not. They are not angel-like: for, are not all the angels "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation?" They are not saint-like: for all the spirits of the just in heaven take a lively interest in the progress of the kingdom of Christ on earth. And they are any thing but god-like: for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, live and move, as if they had both their bliss and being in the welfare of this world.

How ever did it come to be supposed, in the land of BIBLES, that there was either intellectual greatness, or moral loveliness, around any pensive or sweet recluse, who lives only in and for the ideal world of her own thoughts; whilst the Heathen and Mohammedan world is perishing for lack of knowledge, and the actual world at her door, sinning and suffering unpitied by her?

Now there is some danger, as well as difficulty, in meeting this case; because more want to get rid of such doubts, than those who are so placed and pledged in life, that they have but little spare time. The slothful and the worldly-minded are upon the watch, to lay hold of any thing that would lessen their self-condemnation, or tend to reconcile their habits with their hopes. The allowances to be made for the real want of time, they stand ready to snatch at, as excuses for not redeeming time, or for not improving it. The forbearance, and leniency, and sympathy of God towards his poor and afflicted children, are greedily seized and appropriated by slothful servants, and by heedless and heartless professors. For they, too, want to be happy in their own mind, however little they care about holiness. They go to the sanctuary to be comforted, as well

as the tried and harassed Christian.

Hence arises danger, as well as difficulty, in meeting, publicly and fully, the case of those who cannot redeem much time, nor always do the good they really wish: the concessions made on their behalf, may be perverted by those who dislike devotional

worldly engagements, as to leave no time for reading or meditation, and but little for prayer itself. Still, neither the sheep nor the lambs of the Good Shepherd's flock, (who love and long for those green pastures and still waters, without being able to visit them often or continue at them long,) should be left to put the worst interpretation upon their own weakness, however wandering sheep may abuse the Shepherd's condescension. He will count as his sheep, and even carry in his bosom, those, who, although they cannot be so often at his feet as they wish, do not try to keep away, nor to get away, from his feet. He will distinguish between those who cannot sit down to hear his voice frequently, because of pressing domestic duties, and those who seldom do so, because they prefer to "hear the voice of strangers." John x. 5.

Those who have no taste for retirement or read-retirement, into an excuse for so multiplying their ing will, but too readily, join in this protest against sentimental seclusion. Those only who have but little time for direct mental improvement, will make a right use of the protest, or even repeat it in a good spirit. They will be glad to hear it. Not, however, because it condemns others, but because it relieves themselves from self-condemnation, by proving to them, from both the letter and spirit of Scripture, that musing piety is not the only nor the best piety. Many who have no inclination to cumber themselves needlessly with many things, like Martha, are yet encumbered with so many things which distract their attention, and absorb their time, that they hastily conclude, or strongly suspect, that they have no real piety, because they are so unlike the Mary of their own imagination, and of popular opinion.They thus set themselves down as Marthas, (her real character, too, is equally mistaken,) who have not "chosen the good part," nor acquired the "one thing needful." But this is as unnecessary as it is unwise. Wherever real duty fills the hands, or inevitable care the heart, then there is as much holiness, and as much of the real beauty of it too, in doing or suffering the will of God well, as in acts of prolonged devotion, or in efforts of heavenly


This subject is much misunderstood. Indeed, many are afraid to speak out, or even to think freely, on the subject. They are quite dissatisfied with themselves, because they can command so little time for devotional reading and meditation; and yet they do not see how they can command more at present. They see clearly, and feel deeply, that their minds want improvement; that the great salvation deserves more thought than they give to it; that they have not that communion with God which is so desirable, nor that witness of the Spirit which they deem so important; and hence they stand in doubt whether they have any real piety at all.

The real question, therefore, in the case of those who have but little leisure, is,-What engrosses your time? Now, if duties which it would be sinful to omit, fill your hands and your heart all the day long, and even leave you fatigued at night, it will not be laid to your charge, as sin, that you were not much alone with God. You ought not to be much alone, when either a sick-bed or the care of the family requires your presence. Then, the beauty of holiness" lies in watching and working in a devotional spirit, and not in frequent nor in prolonged visits to the closet. That mother is not unholy, nor inconsistent, who has hardly a moment to herself, from morning till night, owing to the number of her children, or the sickness of her babe. That daughter is not unholy, nor unlike Mary of Bethany, who shares her mother's toils and trials, or soothes the loneliness of an aged and infirm father. That wife is not unholy, nor unlike Mary, who, in order to make her husband's slender income sweeten his home and sustain his credit, works hard all the day. All these things are, indeed, done by

many who care nothing about holiness, and who | but, having, like many, grown up under the idea, would not retire to meditate or pray, even if their that nothing was really a part of her piety but what time were not thus absorbed; and, therefore, the was a positive act of religion, and thus being in the mere doing of these things, apart from its spirit and habit of estimating her piety more by her delight in motives, proves nothing decisive as to the state of divine things, than by her conscientious discharge the heart before God. Still, it is equally true, on of ordinary duties, she is, of course, sadly thrown the other hand, that neither the time nor the care out and disconcerted, whenever the pressure of orexpended on these duties disproves the existence of dinary duties lessens the sense or lowers the spirit holiness. There is, indeed, no true holiness, where of her religious observances; whereas, had she fully there is no secret devotion; but there may be much gone into the question of personal holiness at her of the former, when there is but little time for the outset in the divine life, she would have soon dislatter: yea, the highest beauty of holiness often in- covered that it is the very beauty of hotiness to do vests and enshrines the character, whilst the heart that best which is most wanted at the moment; for of a Christian must depend more upon frequent even the cradle may be made an altar, and the nurglances at the throne of grace, than upon formal sery a little sanctuary, and household duties almost approaches to it. Then, to go through arduous sacramental engagements! But if these things are domestic duty, in a meek and quiet spirit, which looked upon as the mere routine of life, or as unfabreathes prayer, even when busiest; or to watch vorable to godliness; and if only the time which and minister in the sick chamber, mingling prayer can be spared from them is considered improved with tenderness and patience, and thus "doing ser- time for eternity, then, of course, there must be a vice as unto the Lord," or for his sake, is as deci- sad sense of declension in piety whenever more time sive of piety, and even "adorns the doctrines" of than usual is demanded by them. But why not Christ as much, as any act of devotion, however consider that unusual portion of time which is respiritual, or any enterprise of zeal, however splen- quired in seasons of domestic care, as improved for did. eternity, as well as the time spent in devotion?— Why not do every thing as service unto God, as well as the things you call service done to him? Surely, if all Christians may eat and drink so as to glorify God, Christian mothers may watch and work for their family to the praise of the glory of his grace.

There is, perhaps, no practical lesson of godliness so ill understood, as this one. The general sentiment of it is, of course, obvious to any Christian, and the theory of it quite familiar; but, how few enter so fully into the spirit of the maxim, as to keep their piety from declining, or their peace of mind from evaporating, when they have much to do or to endure in their family! Then, it is no uncommon thing for a pious wife, or a widowed mother, to complain that domestic cares have brought a cloud upon all her hopes and evidences of grace, and such deadness and darkness upon her soul, that she seems to herself no longer the same being she was, but like an apostate from faith and godliness. Thus she thinks that she has lost her piety, whilst doing her duty to her family!

voring to prevent all religion and devotion too.

I am not inclined to resolve so many things into satanic influence as some are: there are many of our faults and failings but too easily accounted for by the treachery of our own hearts and the want of consideration: still, I cannot help suspecting that Satan has not a little, yea, much, to do with creating and keeping up the popular notion, that nothing is spiritual religion but spiritual exercises and emotions. Not, indeed, that he is any friend to spirituality of heart or habit: there is nothing he hates so much, or tries more to hinder. He can, however, And she certainly has lost some of her piety, al- transform himself into an angel of light, and thus though not in the sense she means, nor yet to the seem to plead for highly spiritual religion, and for degree she suspects. She has lost that holy free-extraordinary devotion, whilst, in fact, he is endeadom at the throne of grace, which once made her closet the house of God and the gate of heaven; she has lost that power of appropriating the great and precious promises, which once made her Bible so dear; she has lost that control over her own thoughts and feelings, by which she could once concentrate them upon the things which are unseen and eternal, whenever she really tried to pass within the veil of the invisible world; and, above all, she has lost sight of her own warrant and welcome to trust in Christ, which once set and kept every thing right. Now, these are serious losses, and may well be sadly bewailed, and even somewhat feared as to their consequences; for it is not so easy to repair these spiritual injuries, as it is to bring them on. They might all have been kept off, however, if she had studied beforehand the secret of blending the spirit of prayer with the efforts of maternal devotedness, and the art of turning the duties of life into acts of godliness;

It is not sin alone, nor worldly pleasures only, that Satan throws false colors over: he can exaggerate the claims of holiness, as well as soften the aspect of sin and folly. He often labors to make out the necessity of too much religion, as well as to prove the sufficiency of too little: I mean, that just as he tries to persuade some that the ceremonial forms of religion are quite enough, or as much as can be expected in our busy world and imperfect state, so he labors to persuade others that nothing amounts to saving piety but a heart all love, a spirit all heavenly, and a character perfectly holy. In like manner, he adapts his wiles to those who see through the fallacy of such extremes; putting it to themselves to say, whether they might not as well do nothing at all in religion, as do so little; whether it would not be less dangerous to make no profession of godliness, than to have only a spark of its

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