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fruit, the peaceable fruits of righteousness, but wouldst recklessly live on like others thine acquaintance and relations, without peace in time, without hope for eternity,– I say not that thou hast always felt thus, because thy Father above is more gracious to thee than thine iniquities deserve ; and many and many a time has He heretofore recalled thee by bis tokens of pardon and pledges of love; but oh beware, lest after having provoked him beyond recall, thou findest when it is too late, that thou hast perished from the way, when His wrath is kindled, yea but a little.''
Then, pointing anew to the blooming wall-flower, my heavenly counsellor resumed. Thou mayest behold here a lovely emblem of that Christian, who has given his whole heart to the Lord, and is bent on doing bim service, wherever and however he may be placed. He does not excuse himself from bearing fruit, because the air he breathes is chill, nor does be appeal to the condition of others his associates, and draw therefrom an argument for his own barrenness and decay. No-the very presence of wintry skies, the yery withdrawal of kindly dews, invigorates him into hardiness of spirit, and makes him more bent on yielding full praise to his Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, He depends not for the maintenance of his life on outward excitement, or sympathetic companionship, but calmly breathes the common air of earth, increasing all the while in vigour and in loveliness. He has become thoroughly imbued with the light of heaven, and can therefore shine in golden glory though clouds are lowering around, and night bastens on a pace.'.
Again He ceased, and I, casting myself at his feet, inquired with a trembling but a contrite heart, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?”
And he answered, “ Follow on to know the Lord, for then shall He guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones ; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. Thy brapches shall spread, and thy beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and thy smell as Lebanon, and in the Lord shall thy fruit be found.”
Having spoken these words, be passed away, and when I turned, behold I saw him no more.
Then I awoke and knew that it was a dream, but my sleep had been sweet unto me, and the speech of that unknown visitant bad dropped upon my soul as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass !
ACCOUNT OF AN EXPERIMENT OF A BIBLE
I Am induced by the advice of a friend, to send you an account of a Bible Class for adults, which during the last four years it has been my privilege and happiness to conduct in the parish of which I am the curate. I am not the only clergyman who has experienced the difficulty of devising any plan of ministerial duty, by which access can be obtained to the adult male population of our parishes. By means of schools we can instruct and watch over the young, by daily visiting, or by cottage lectures in hamlets distant from the church, we can bring the aged or infirm within the range of our ministerial instructions, but it is difficult to become acquainted with the labouring men. They are only at home in the evening, when the distance of their babitations prevents our reaching them, and when, if we did, we should perhaps not discover the objects of our search ; the publichouses and beer-shops established in every hamlet and every green, holding out so many inducements to them to leave their families. On Sundays but few come to church, probably not more than one in seven ; and thus, except in times of sickness, we find it almost impossible to devise a plan by which we can reach them; and yet that is one of the most important duties of the ministry. These men are the fathers of large families, who depend on them for an example ; and a great part of the comfort of home must depend upon their regularity and good conduct. Where the head of a family is a pious man, the result is felt throughout; where it is otherwise, even though the wife is a pious woman, she can effect, humanly speaking, but little comparative good. During a ministry of many years in the same parish, I had been painfully sensible of this difficulty, without knowing how to remedy or meet it. It happened, however, by the mercy of God, that about four years ago, ny health became, comparatively speak. ing, so infirm, that I was not allowed to undertake the duties of a very large church. Preaching was altogether prohibited. When Sunday came, I greatly missed the accustomed delightful duties of the day, and I obtained permission from my rector to assemble a few men before the morning service in the Infant School Room, in order to read them a chapter in the Bible before going to church. I well remember the first morning we met; we were a little party of twelve men, they feeling a little nervous at the idea of reading to me, and I feeling very desirous of making it interesting to them, and to divest it of all undue formality and restraint. We drew a few forms round the fire, and then I invited them each to read a verse, I having taken my verse in turn with them. When we came to a paragraph we stopped, and I asked a few simple questions upon the subject of our reading. The chapter happened to be the twenty-second of Luke, and I remember asking one of the men, • What he supposed to be the cause of our Saviour's agony?' His reply was, · Because at that time he was feeling all the weight of all the sins of man heaped upon his head.' This man, at that time, could not read; he came to listen, as he had done at church for years. His reply shows that he had not listened in vain. The hour soon passed, and before we separated, I said to the men, “Tell your fellow-labourers what a happy hour we have passed, and when (if God permit) we meet next Sunday, let every man here bring a friend with him, Next Sunday I was delighted to find twenty men instead of twelve. The following Sunday, in consequence of the same exhortation, there were thirty. I was now obliged to draw off my happy party to the end of the room; and arranging the forms before me, I placed my Bible on a standingdesk, and stood upon the footstep of the little gallery, so that I could command a full view of their animated honest countenances. Sunday after Sunday the numbers increased, till I had on my list the names of two hundred, of whom about a hundred and twenty on an average attend every Sunday morning. As my numbers augmented, I made some alterations in my plan. I began with a hymn, first reading it through, and then reading two lines, and singing them, then two more, and so on to the end. I generally sang the same hymn every Sunday, till I could see they knew the tune and the words, and then I tried a new one. When the hymn was concluded, I bid them all kneel down, and desired them to repeat the Confession after me aloud, then followed some Collects of the Church, the opening petitions of the Litany, and at the conclusion the Lord's Prayer. The blessed sight of upwards of one hundred men upon their knees, all repeating the confession of their sins, was quite overpowering. Many of them have since told me that they never knelt before. I was led to abandon the plan of asking questions, as I discovered that many men were deterred from coming, under the idea that they were to be examined. Now we read as before, each taking a verse in turn, till we come to the end of the paragraph; then I explain all the hard words, and give the sense of the whole passage, substituting plain words for those which are difficult of comprehension; and having explained the doctrinal meaning of it, and enforced its practice, we go on as before. In order to make these meetings as interesting as possible, I am constantly collecting anecdotes from books or newspapers, illustrating the subject from natural objects most familiar to them, and introducing into the prayer and the exposition any remarkable providences, sudden deaths, deliverances, accidents, storms, or other monitory events which have occurred during the previous week. I endeavour to be lively, animated, and affectionate, in my address to them, and certainly the results have been most satisfactory. These men have lost all fear of me; while their reverence towards me, and their respect and love, are increased. The moment they are ill they frequently send for me, and I find, generally, a great part of my work is done ; they have gradually acquiesced, from hearing it over and over again repeated to them, in the grand outline of man's eventful fall and recovery, and they are ready to be led on to higher ground. I always speak to them of the Bible Class, as being a preparation for the services of the house of God, and our church is now so crowded with labouring men, as to attract the notice of strangers to the circum
* From the Cottager's Monthly Visitor. We feel assured that neither our respectable cotemporary, nor his Correspondent A Country Curate,' will require from us any apology for attempting to add to the publicity of this instructive and encouraging narrative; with the hope that many of our Clerical readers will be disposed to adopt similar measures. The plan is sinple and practicable, and by the blessing of God may be eminently successful.-EDITOR.
stance; one hundred families have applied for family prayers, the attendance at the Lord's table has increased month after month, and the mothers of numerous families bear testimony to the change which has taken place through the mercy of God in the habits and conduct of their husbands. Many of these poor men have passed into the eternal world since they became attendants at the Bible Class ; some of them have died in the Lord, with a hope full of immortality, confessing it was then they were first led to see their lost state, and that then they went to Church, where “ the truths they had heard were fixed in their minds.” One old man of seventy years, told me he was utterly ignorant of " Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life," till he was led from the Bible Class to the Church; and on the evening before his death, he turned to his sons, and expressed his dying request that they would go to it, declaring how much benefit he had derived from it himself. I am aware, that when any clergyman has the whole public duties of any particular church to perform, it is impossible he can go through this (which is no small exertion) in addition ; but if this should meet the eye of any of my brethren who have assistance in their Sunday duties, I am persuaded they would find it a very efficient instrument of assembling a class of persons who of all others are the most difficult to be got at. I can truly say, also, that it has been of great service to myself, and that it has drawn poor men towards me, and united us more closely in the bonds of Christian love.
If you do me the favour to insert this in your columns, I will venture to send you, at a future time, the short and simple annals' of a few of these poor men, to whom their attendance at the Bible Class had been blessed.
A COUNTRY CURATE..
SYMPATHY is a feeling which awakens in man a participation in the happiness and misery of his fellows; consequently it imparts joy where gladness reigns, and condolence, where distress interrupts the tranquil stream of life.
That such a feeling is worthy of cultivation, needs not the infertile eloquence of my pen to prove. Poets have written much in praise of this dearest tie of human nature. Friendship is the forerunner of Sympathy, and one cause of its existence. It is a possession which few enjoy ; it is a pearl which lies deep in the recesses of dangerous rocks, and it requires the skill of an expert diver to possess himself of it. And as in the natural, so in the moral world, this treasure is strictly guarded ; and though no polypi extend their ravenous arms to seize them who would become possessed of it, still many are the dangers attending the choice of a friend, and the cultivation of friendship. .
For the poor man to have one, who will share his poverty as
another self; for the afflicted to have one, who will share with him bis load of affliction; for the broken-hearted to be possessed of one whose heart can sympathize with him in his distress, and before whom he can open the secrets of his bosom ; that he may receive that consolation which sympathy feelingly imparts; for the despised, forgotten, almost unfriended man to have one to whom he can fee for succour against the strength of the mighty, and the slander of the traducer ; for the fatherless and widow to be possessed of one friend, whose heart is the receptacle of their despairing thoughts, and the fountain of their cheering hopes, their future joys, and their present happiness,-whose heart will soften at the tale of want, and beat in sympathetic feeling, as the hymn of thanksgiving and the voice of praise ascends to heaven,—the cords of whose heart will relax over the misery of his fellow-creatures, and will vibrate over their happiDess, whose eye will scatter the dew-drops of Charity, and whose hand will generously relieve the wretched ; to become possessed of such a one, such a friend is worthy of our solicitude. Friendship is generally founded on similarity of pursuits, feelings, or situation in life. Sometimes it springs from philanthropy, often from interest. It flourishes only where virtue leads, it luxuriates in purity of sentiment, and in singleness of soul. Scorning the little differences which blight the fairest qualities of man's nature, it seeks the happiness and welfare of another. It bears an aspect of greatness and majesty, and casts the mantle of generosity over the frailties of our nature, and buries a thousand faults in the stream of Charity
The seeds of friendship may be sown in fields of lustful pleasure ; it may for a time flourish under the nurture of vice, and fructify amid scenes of revelry; but like the “ good seed” cast upon infertile ground, by which the parable eloquently exhibits the hasty progress and rapid decline of the production of a disingenuous soil and situation, it will not bear the pinching hand of sickness, nor the darkling storms of adversity.
Not like the sun, will it shine more brilliantly after a storm, but like a meteor it will fade. While the wind is fair; and danger threatens not, it will support its existence with apparent strength; but a storm will scatter, and danger disperse it. This false friendship has no feeling heart, or liberal hand; it flourishes like an exotic in a genial atmosphere, sheltered from chilling blasts, and beating rains; but withdraw all artificial protection, and leave it alone to support itself on a spontaneous soil ; it will fall like a stricken mast before the mountain billow, and leave the vessel to its fate.
If we require the evidence of antiquity to prove the value and happy fruits of a genuine reciprocation of feeling and interest, we have it. And among the many examples of sincere and distinguished friendship, we point out that which existed between Jonathan and David. Their’s was not the friendship of a day, pledged in the morning, and broken at eve. Amid danger and death, poverty and exile, they were the same : their bond of friendship was strengthened by adversity, and animated by love. Their covenants in Rama, and in the wilderness of Ziph, stand as lasting memorials of their mutual affection. And if the eloquence of lamentation be proof of their plighted friendship, or can add to its lustre, we find among the sacred records an