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up to that time retained his integrity, he is conscious now of an infinite descent. He has taken a frightful leap. He has bidden adieu to goodness, purity, honor, rectitude, virtue. Heaven is veiled in blackness, and awful thunders alone meet his ear; if perchance he ever afterwards listens towards the eternal throne, a sickening and mournful sense of self-degradation comes over him. No external preacher or voice is necessary to convince him that he is fallen. A terrible monitor within is beating the funeral knell of his virtue and his happiness. If there be uprightness and innocence on earth, he knows full well that he belongs not among those elevated circles. Nay, even the dog of the street appears less degraded, and less hateful than he. That one lie still upon his conscience and character, and yet unwashed away, he will no more rise to goodness and to peace. He will remain a moral wreck. He may still sink-he will never ascend. God may not strike him literally and suddenly dead; but he has struck his own virtue to death, and has fatally poisoned the last sweet for the sake of which existence is desirable.
No warning can be too strong that we may deter the young of either sex from consenting ever, and by any means or mode, to the great and foul sin of falsehood. That this is a crime of special hatefulness, is sufficiently clear from the terrible retribution that met the hapless Sapphira, and her husband. Partners in falsehood, they were partners, the same day, in an untimely grave.
The Lord slew them-slew them for lying! After this will one ever venture
this melancholy ground? Will one venture even the slightest approximation? Shall it be absent, for any moment, from the mind, that lying stands recorded on the inspired page among the dark catalogue of transgressions that infallibly exclude the guilty one from the everlasting kingdom. “For there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth-neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie."
“This woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.” What a beautiful testi- . monial is this to go down to all generations ! How preferable to all monuments of marble, and all the proud memorials of fame and greatness! Far preferable even to the worship paid to learning and genius is a celebrity like this. Yet who believes it? Who discerns that to be greatly good and beneficent is the supreme end of life, and the highest elevation to be attained on earth ?
Dorcas was distinguished by good works. Such were the operations of her hands. She wrought not evil, but good. Actions and efforts that were worthy, pure, benevolent, and lovely, emanated from her. She liberally clothed the naked. “ Coats and garments
were by her, the products of her industry, with which to warm and comfort needy and suffering ones.
Nor was she limited to any one species of welldoing. She gave alms of such things as she possessed, whether of garments or other matters suitable for the relief of the destitute. Charitable objects were much upon her mind and heart, and she was disposed to bless in any mode which her means and strength would allow.
And she was full of these heavenly charities. They were not occasional with her. They were not spasmodic ebullitions of kindness. Her good works were a full and everflowing stream,-overflowing its banks and fertilizing the neighboring regions. She lived to do good. This was felt to be her calling—this was her occupation. Her own wants were comparatively few. She did not feel herself called upon to devote her time and energies to superfluities of dress, or luxuries of food. Many things in which most Christians indulge would have been agreeable to her likewise; but she could deny herself of these, and by such self-denial increase her means and measure of usefulness. And she preferred the luxury of doing good to all worldly enjoyments, and realized in her experience that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Many, doubtless, wondered at her course and manner of life. Some thought her righteous overmuch-and others fancied, perhaps, that more attention was due to her own
worldly interest and affairs. But she had a loftier vision, and keener perception, and a purer faith. Other ladies were admired for their beauty, their wit, and other and varied accomplishments; but the blessing of such as were ready to perish fell upon Dorcas, while beams of life and love, emanating from her, animated and cheered their fainting hearts. Other ladies were admired-she was beloved. Others might be solicitous for themselves--she cared for the poor. Others might have pined over their own sorrows-she wept for the distresses of her neighbors. Others might have labored to escape the ills of life-she passed her days and years in drying up those ills, and subtracting from the number of human tears. She had no time for backbiting, tale-bearing, or mischief-making of any sort. Every influence going out from her was comforting, pure, and beneficent.
Hence she was good of heart. Christ has given us permission to estimate a tree by its fruit-a rule, by the way, too lightly esteemed in this age of creeds and parties. Yet it is by this same rule that we all judge Dorcas. She abounded in good works. These were the fruits ; then the tree was good. The streams were sweet and refreshing; then the fountain was pure. We may assign her a place among the selectest spirits of this lower world. She had been translated out of the kingdom of nature into that of God's dear Son. She was a new creature. Christ had substituted in
her heart benevolence for selfishness-life for inertness-faith for sight-fire for coldness-beauty for ashes-light for darkness. She had not originally an angel's nature ; she wore not an angel's form; yet had she come to possess an angel's spirit and temper, and in her character was much more nearly related to heaven than to earth. It is difficult to imagine a stronger contrast than between Dorcas and some other female characters noticed in the Scriptures. Place her aside of Jezebel or Herodias, and who is not filled with wonder that beings so utterly diverse can be of the same race? Who exults not in his astonishment at the sublime triumph of grace, thus effectuating a moral change in man such as is scarcely less than infinite ?
But Dorcas, the good and beautiful, sickened and died. Alas! who can escape that dreaded crisis ? Who shall be discharged from that war ? It would seem that if any one might escape,
Dorcas might; so good was she-so benevolent-S0 useful—so beloved. But she slept; and seemed to sleep untimely,--drooped and fainted in the high day of her beneficent and brilliant energies,
“ Ceasing at once to work and live."
And they laid away her body in an upper chamber-laid it, as was meet, amid the memorials of her benevolent industry. Is it too farfetched that this should remind us of another scenery, when, away in the repose of eternity, good men shall