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EXHIBITION OF PIETY.
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“ The entire conversion of the heart discharges not the Christian from the fulfilment of social and relative obligations. It will not bury him in a cloister; nor make him flee like Elijah to the desert. It will, however, assuredly require, that his employments should be sanctified by the word of God and prayer. It does ene join that his conversation should be in heaven; and that his eye should be fixed with singleness of aim upon the prize of his high calling of God in Christ Jesus."-Buddicom's Christian Exodus.
As the subject of the last chapter had a primary reference to yourselves, the subject of this may be viewed as having a primary reference to others. As true Christians, you are to demean yourselves in a truly Christian manner towards all men.
Some young Christians, more zealous than wise, more vehement than prudent, more decided than kind, seem disposed to disregard those persons who do not enter into their views and feelings ; and they reserve their love, esteem, and confidence for those who think and feel as they themselves think and feel. They stand as it were upon an elevation, see in a new light, inhale a purer atmosphere, and look down with indifference or dislike upon those who are yet in the misty valley—the majority of the human family. This, however, is a sad abuse of the divine goodness. Surely such individuals do not know of what spirit they are. I hope, my young readers, that you will lament to see any thing of this sort, and most cautiously guard against it yourselves.
Let the principles and laws of the Gospel rule you in your conduct towards your parents, towards your connexions and former companions, towards those whom we designate the world, and towards servants and inferiors. A few remarks on these particulars must suffice: they will show you that you are debtors “both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” As you have light, so must that light shine for the benefit of others.
1. Be submissive, affectionate, and dutiful towards your parents. We are naturally more or less self-willed and impatient of control. We wish to act according to our own inclination, and restraint is irksome. But it is the duty of us all to be submissive to lawful authority; and in a peculiar manner it is the duty of children to be submissive to parental authority. That single sentence respecting our blessed Saviour,—“and was subject unto them”—is as it were an invaluable volume to a reflecting mind. If a child assume to himself an independence of spirit, and betray an impatience of just control, it is a proof, whatever he may profess, that his views and feelings are very defective-very perverse.
If your parents be pious, they may have some peculiarities of sentiment or of conduct which you do not altogether approve. They do not go so far as you wish, or their views are not plainly and simply scriptural. They are advanced in life, and have about them some of the peculiarities of a goneby day, which are not altogether pleasing to your modern taste. They have a few of those odd things which you call whims, fancies, or eccentricities. At times they are rather cross, peevish, arbitrary. Now supposing that something of this sort may exist, you may be occasionally discomposed by them, be inclined to censure, to laugh, to criticise, to condemn them. Check such feelings in a moment: remember the sacred character that they sustain : bear patiently with them: cast the mantle of love over every fault. Revere them; love them; do not contradict them; do not irritate them; do not put yourselves in the chair of judg
ment upon them. Demean yourselves towards them in all respects, and that with a willing heart, as dutiful and affectionate children. If
your parents be not pious, the case is different —but your duty is the same. God has put a difference between you and them. You cannot arrogate any thing to yourselves. But the spiritual relation between God and you does not affect the natural relation between your parents and you: -in fact, it only requires you to be more loving, dutiful, attentive, submissive, acting from new principles and by a new law. In public, in the family, in private conversation, make it evident that you feel as children ought to feel, and that religion only renders you more alive to your duty, and more careful to perform it. If at any time they oppose you, require what you do not like, or impose some unwelcome restraint, let not this lead to any violation of duty on your part. They do not see as you see, or feel as you feel. opposition you would do an injury to them, to yourselves, and to religion, so by obedience and the maintenance of a proper disposition, you may promote their good, and you will certainly promote your own: your character will shine in that beauty which it always ought to reflect.
It is a painful sight to see any child, and more especially a child professing godliness, displaying any thing like insubordination, pride, self-will, superciliousness, or pertness towards a parent.
The parental relation is peculiarly sacred in the eye of God-it ought to be so in yours. You may have much to bear, much to try you ; but this is a call to duty--to self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer.
2. Act rightly towards all your connexions and former companions. I will suppose them not to be pious, and that you are not inclined to adopt half-measures. You will be disposed to act promptly and decidedly; to follow your feelings ; to turn round; to enter into a new path; to separate yourself from your gay and thoughtless associates. I would even here inculcate reflection and prudence. Be patient, deliberate, calm: make a distinction between persons and things. Let your character be known, as being Christian. Let it be known, that, in the strength of divine grace, you will strive to form your life, not on the maxims and manners of the world, but by the principles and laws of the gospel. But while you abandon every vanity, there is no reason why you should abjure the society of relatives, friends, and companions, unless they act towards you in a very unreasonable manner. Show to all persons that religion is at the same time holy and heavenly, social and friendly. You may have an opportunity of explaining your views, principles, and reasons, which the candid will hear and examine. If you be heard, one point is gained: if, through divine grace, your example be followed, another point is