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the escapade of a fine, bold-spirited boy, who "Entirely,” said Self-deception with emphasis. struggled against coercion?”
He was pursuing his usual system of soothing " I've a notion that I was mismanaged from away self-reproach, by laying the blame of his the first," muttered Wildrake.
patients' errors upon any shoulders but their "Grossly mismanaged !” cried Smoothaway own. “Stern has a great deal to answer for, quickly. “If you've not turned out everything and so has your weak, silly mother.” that your friends might have wished, it is all “Ab! my poor mother!" sighed Wildrake. their own fault. Your mother spoiled you—and “She has had a bitter penalty to pay for her bas no cause to complain if she reaps the fruit of over-indulgence. I have not yet told the whole her spoiling. Then, after your father's death, of my story. The first day that I was able to had you not for guardian that Pharisaical hypo- leave the house after my illness, as I sauntered crite Stern ?"
slowly through the streets of Nocross, I chanced "Not hypocrite—no; I hate the fellow, but to pass a large pawnbroker's shop. My eye was I'll give him his due,” interrupted Wildrake. attracted by some bauble in the window which
He is a hypocrite," cried the doctor, “for he took my fancy; so I determined to buy it. I says one thing and does another.
had not much cash in my purse,—the little which that he is a follower of the gospel which bids I had had been given to me by my mother Christians love one another; and if ever there was that morning ; I had asked her for money, and a beart full of prejudice, bigotry, and intolerance, she never knew how to refuse me aught that I it is that of the saintly Stern."
asked. I remember, however, that it had been “Yes, yes ; you are right there !” exclaimed with an air of hesitation that my mother had Wildrake, eager, as the world always is, to detect drawn forth her purse. I turned into the shop, inconsistency in professors. “Stern cannot for
“Stern cannot for but had to wait for awhile before the owner, who give Ernest Getreu for being bis father's son, was otherwise engaged, could attend to my though Ernest would be as fine a fellow as ever wishes. I employed the time in looking around trod earth if he had not taken up such absurd me, and noticed, lying across the counter, an Puritanical notions. The contemptuous tone in India shawl exposed for sale. I recognized the which the last words were uttered showed that pattern in a moment; it was that of a shawl whatever might be the regret of Wildrake for the which my mother bad often worn and higbly follies of his own past life, his was not the re- valued, for it had been the wedding-gift of her pentance of a Christian.
husband. If any doubt as to the identity of the ** Stern did his best to make a saint of you,” article before me could have existed, it soon was observed Smoothaway with a laugh ; “but he did removed; I turned the shawl over where it lay, not exactly succeed in accomplishing his plan.” and as I did so lighted on the small, neatly
“ He made me detest the very name of saint!" darned place where my bullet had gone through. exclaimed Wildrake with vehemence. “He could No eye but mine might have detected the not wrap and bind and embalm a free spirit into blemish, but the moment that I saw it I could a mummy. He tried to force his religion upon have sworn to the shawl !” a wild young scamp who cared for nothing but The young man spoke with vehemence, and freedom and frolic. Stern bad no geniality in with some signs of emotion. him, no power of imagining that a flow of gay, “That shawl-the wedding-gift of my dead bold spirits could not be kept in the narrow father— must have been sold by my mother
; canal-like channel in which his own mind so she had been hard pushed, indeed, ere she had soberly moved on. My guardian exaggerated parted with that! I saw a price-mark upon boyish follies into vices; and condemning me at it, scarce a tenth of its original value : I have unce as a reprobate, he made me what he chose thrown away as much on one day of wild pleasure, to fancy me to be. Yes, yes; my errors are en- staked and lost double the sum on one night! tirely owing to my mother's ill-judged indulgence, The sight of that shawl brought back the feelings and my guardian's stupidity and harshness." of that day, long ago, when, as a child, I was
startled by the loud report of the pistol, and knew Even after all that I had seen during the prenot, for the moment, whether I had not destroyed ceding interviews of the effrontery with which my parent. I left the shop at once, and swore a Self-deception opposed common-sense as well as deep oath as I did so that I would change my conscience, I was surprised at his boldness in thus course from that hour, give up my follies, my counselling perjury and gambling as a means of companions, my extravagant habits, and settle redeeming past sins. It must have been obvious down to sober life. I repeated my vow in the to any one possessing the smallest amount of presence of my mother, saw her pale face brighten knowledge of human nature, that if the prodigal with delight, and had her blessing as she sobbed again crossed the threshold of a gaming-house it on my neck. The oath which I have sworn I will would not be only for once, that if he approached keep, and as the earnest that I am resolved to do the edge of the whirlpool he would inevitably be so, I bring back that chain to you now."
drawn into the fatal vortex. And yet, why should “ Yes, you will settle down sober life," ob- I have been thus surprised ? Was I a stranger served Smoothaway in his satirical tone, “and to the fact that Self-deception has a thousand your first step towards it must be to seek out times drawn victims to destruction by the fatal your saintly friend, your indulgent guardian, tell suggestion, “It is only for once"? Is he not perhim that you are ashamed and grieved at having petually deluding sinners by the hope, that having for so long played the prodigal's part, setting sent the stone bounding down the mountain they aside all his wise counsels, but that you are now can arrest it at will, though experience shows going to make up for the past, and turn into a that the force of its momentum every moment good quiet soul--a regular psalm - singer and increases ? church-goer, like himself.”
“If I could be sure that the cards would bring Wildrake winced as if he had been stung. me luck," began Wildrake. The bird was under “ You will beg him—very humbly, of course
the fascination of the serpent's gaze, but had to find for you some situation in which you may power feebly to flutter still. earn a new character by any sort of work hard "I warrant you that they will,” interrupted enough-monotonous—degrading enough to serve Self-deception eagerly; “my life on it, they will! at once as a suitable penance, and enable you to Have I not secret means of divining what lies in gain a pittance sufficient to keep you from actual the shuffling of the pack or the throw of the dice ! starvation."
Have you ever known me to be mistaken?" Wildrake started up to his feet. “I can't do No one can better than Self-deception assume that I'll never do that,flesh and blood could the attribute of Infallibility, to work on the not endure it !” he exclaimed, striking the table superstition of ignorant minds. with his clenched fist. “ But my oath—I have “You know more than most mortals know," sworn to give up my wild life, and to win back cried the prodigal, with an oath. that shawl for my mother.”
“Trust me then for once," said the great In“You shall keep your oath, you shall win back postor, advancing nearer to his victim, and laying the shawl,” cried Self-deception; "but if you delay his hand on the arm of Wildrake.
“Stake what till you earn money by slow drudgery at desk or you can, play high to-night--for the last timecounter, you may wait till your head is gray. and with your winnings--for you will win-start Take a shorter method, my boy! Go to-night to fair on your new career to-morrow." your favourite resort at Blackleg's, go only this Wildrake looked on the Tempter with a gaze once, you will have a run of luck, of that I have a expressive of uncertainty and perplexity, then presentiment which I have never yet found false. muttered between his clenched teeth, “I dare not You will play-play high—for the last time, of do it, I dare not go there; if I once began playing course, fill your purse, recover the shawl, and give it I could not stop, I should perjure myself,—110, back to your parent, and then start at once on your I dare not." new course of reformation, satisfied that you have • Dare not ! is that a word for a bold dasbing done what you could to repair your former errors." | spirit such as yours?” exclaimed Self-deception. «Who would believe that you are be who rode with a wild laugh which was sadder to hear than Coquette at the steeple-chase, cleared at a flying that of a maniac, the prodigal made his exit by leap the stone dyke on Deadman's Hill which the same door as that through which the wretched half the horses refused, and the hedge by the Leah had passed. sunken ditch where young Harkaway's collar-bone “Intoxication by the dram, intoxication by was broken, and came in winner at the last, amidst maddening excitement, they bring to the same the deafening cheers of a crowd of spectators !” goal in the end,” observed Smoothaway to him
"Ah! that was a day to be remembered !” self; “ gambling and drunkenness are wellcried Wildrake, kindling into sudden enthusiasm matched racers in the course to ruin, and the at the recollection of his triumph.
winner, whichever it be, wins but hy a neck “A day worth a thousand of such as you doom at the last !” yourself to pass on a social treadmill,” said Self- The almost horizontal rays of the sun, now near deception. “Recollect the heavy betting on that his setting, fell full on the western windows, and steeple-chase, and the hundred guineas which you struggled to penetrate through the ovals of frosted
glass, like truth almost piercing through the mist of “ And lost that very night at the gaming-table," The ovals reddened into a flush; there was interrupted Wildrake.
just enough of the glorious radiance from without “ You will not lose this night,” cried the beheld within the mysterious apartment to show Tempter ; " Dan Dice, who cleared you out then, that the sun was behind the glass, but not one pure will be at Blackleg's; you must—you shall have beam could stream into the chamber of Self-decepyour revenge !”
tion. That transitory flush soon passed away, like “I will have my revenge !” exclaimed Wild- the short-lived impulse towards reformation which rake, snatching up the electric belt, and from its had arisen in the hearts of the two last hapless touch appearing to gather wild animation and transgressors who had listened to the flatterer's spirit. “I will wear this to-night, if I never wear
voice. it more; I will have my full swing of pleasure for O Self-deception ! most faithless, most false ! once, if I hang myself for it tomorrow!” And | how many soul-murders lie at thy door !
Roman buildings. Behold the two missionaries, with BEREAN NOBILITY.
their guide, toiling along by night, eager to reach another
station, where they might work and win before the wave Acts xvii, 10, 11.
of persecution should overtake them. ASON and his companions were admitted to It is instructive to compare the occupation of this
bail. The tumult for the time subsided. night with that of the last night of which the history is The brethren sent Paul and Silas away by recorded—the night in prison at Philippi. Then they
night to Berea ; for they were free to act sang praise and prayer. They were enclosed within on their Master's rule, “When they persecute you in prison walls, and fastened to the ground. What could che city, flee ye unto another."
they do? All was bound except their lips, and with That night-journey demands a passing notice. They these they sang. But this night, when they had escaped started at night in order to escape the rage of the per- from the persecutors in Thessalonica, they did not sit secutors; but they could not reach Berea in one day's down and sing. There, worship was work; here, work march, for the distance was about sixty miles. The was worship. Generally the history tells what was done road led at first westward, through a great plain, and in the day-time; but in these cases the events of the then ascended the mountain. Berea lies on the eastern night are mentioned because these events concerned the slope of the Olympian range. It is still a town of 20,000 King. In the first of these nights, the men, finding inhabitants, and contains some remains of Greek and work impossible, worshipped ; and that act of worship turned out a successful work, for numbers were thereby | was of plebeian blood and training. His tribe servei won to Christ, and a footing for the gospel obtained in a idols in the rich plain of the Tigris, and lived without heathen city. In the second night, when they could God in the world. He was sovereignly chosen and called. neither sleep nor work, the missionaries marched ; and He received the patent of his nobility in the specific the march became the means of life from the dead to many promise of the King eternal ; and large possessions were in Berea, for by that sudden night-march the preachers bestowed upon him for the support of his dignity. To got the start of their enemies, and had laid the founda- him, many generations afterwards, kings and nobles tions of a permanent edifice, before the Jews of Thessa- proudly traced their pedigree. lonica could discover the direction of their flight and At a later period of the empire, when the King's Son take measures for opposing them.
was sojourning in this province, he called others -cer In Berea, they immediately addressed themselves to tain common plebeian men-and conferred on them the the Jews in their synagogue. “These were more noble patent of nobility. Some fishermen were at that time then those in Thessalonica, in that they received the raised from the ranks. In Rome they call Peter a word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scrip- prince: the title is not amiss, although they apply it tures daily whether these things were so."
falsely. About the same time some tax-collectors were There is a heraldry, it seems, in the kingdom of God admitted into the princely rank; and after the King's as well as in the kingdoms of this world. Our King's Son had returned to the seat of government, a noted throne, too, is encircled by a high-born nobility. In the rebel was first taken captive, and thereafter made a Scriptures you will find the record of their deeds and the noble at his conqueror's court-an ambassador to the patent of their rank. The disciples of Christ are taught nations in the service of his reconciled King. neither to vilify nor extol a temporal nobility. Chris- Further, each noble of this kingdom is himself born tianity is not revolutionist. It is so deeply occupied to his title and estate. Nicodemus, though a son of with an inner revolution for eternity, that it cannot be Abraham by his first birth, must himself be born again stow any attention on the political revolutions of time. ere he could enjoy the privileges of a peer. As it will not spend its strength in setting these thrones But there is one broad distinction, which should te up, neither will it turn aside to pull them down. It carefully observed, between the kingdoms of this world leaves them precisely where it found them, and passes and the kingdom of Christ, in regard to the manner in on in pursuit of its own ain.
which peers are made,-in regard to what constitutes If we could obtain a view of this earth from a great nobility. In the kingdoms of this world there are two height in the heavens, the mountains would not appear distinct methods; and of the whole body of the peerage, very high, the valleys would not appear very deep. The some are admitted in one way, some in the other-none inequalities on the earth's surface, which from our pre- in both. Some are called from other classes by the free sent view-point seem great, would disappear, and all election of the sovereign, and some are born into their would be reduced to a level. Precisely the same law dignities. In the kingdom of Christ, every noble unites rules in the spiritual sphere. When any one attains in himself both these rights. He is chosen from rithout spiritually a great elevation, the differences of social into the circle of the princes; and he is also born into condition, which bulk largely in other men's eyes, the family. It requires both the earthly things to realnost altogether disappear. To one who looks on the present the heavenly. One represents the election by the community as from the throne of God, the artifi- sovereignty of God, and the other represents the actual cial distinctions which prevail in society seem to be change which in the regeneration passes upon the heart blotted out: in his view, all are low until grace raise and life of the man.
These two represent salvation respectively on its But distinctions there are, notwithstanding-distinc- upper and its under side, as the Parable of the Good tions between one man and another-real, deep, per- Shepherd and the Parable of the Prodigal represent it. manent. Some are slaves when seen from the higher The upper side of the seal contains the legend, “The view-point, and some are free ; some are dead in sins, Lord knoweth them that are bis ;” and the under side, and some have been raised to newness of life ; some are “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart rich in grace, while others are wretched and poor and from iniquity.” miserable and blind and naked; some are high-born, Two characteristic features of the Berean nobility are and some low.
recorded, in order that we in the end of the world nay These were more noble-high-born. Two things go be able to distinguish between the genuine and the spurito constitute nobility in its temporal form : first, the ous; “They received the word with all readiness of mind, sovereign's choice in its origin; and second, the actual and searched the Scriptures daily whether these things birthright of each individual noble in successive genera- were so." These qualities are distinct from each other, tions. The spring of all lies in the good pleasure of the and yet are so bound together as to constitute a pair. king. The same feature is found in the nobility of the The one is a tender, childlike receptiveness for revealed heavenly kingdom. Abraham was one of the multitude truth; the other is a manly independence of judgment. “ beyond the flood"-on the east of the Euphrates. He Their hearts drank in readily the water of life; but their
ACTS xvii. 12.
understandings sifted the doctrines that were preached, , that they pored over the page ; and after having read and tried them by the law and the testimony.
a sentence, returned to traverse the lines again, in order 1. Their hearts were receptive. In this matter the that the track of the sense might be more deeply graven Jews of Berea were favourably distinguished from those on their minds. They avoided the two extremes of of Thessalonica. Those who, like Saul before his conver- easy credulity and hard unbelief. Some stand rigid sion, had a knowledge of the law, and a full stock of against the truth and yield not at all ; others bend rariegated merits, did not so readily open to receive the easily before every doctrine that is plausibly presented, gospel. They were like a field that is soaked and suured but bend as the willow bends to the breeze, taking with stagnant water: when a shower falls on such a every position but keeping none. field it trickles off again. It is the dry land that drinks It is a general law of human nature that what in the rain.
comes lightly, goes lightly. What we gain by a hard The distinction is similar to that which the parable struggle, we retain with a firmer grasp, whether it be makes between the good ground and the hard beaten our fortune or our faith. Those men who have obtained Fayside. The seed that fell on both places was the same. great wealth without any trouble or toil of their own, It was the quality of softness in the one that rendered often scatter it, and die in poverty. It is seldom that it receptive, and the quality of hardness in the other the man who gains a fortune by gigantic labour wastes which caused it to reject the seed. Here lay the cause the wealth he has won. In like manner, give me the of the difference disclosed in harvest. As more depends Christian who has fought his way to his Christianity. on the condition of the soil than on the skill of the sower, If it is through fire and water that he has reached the so more depends on a receptive spirit in the hearers wealthy place, he will not lightly leave his rich inheritthan on the peculiar ability of the preacher. There is a ance. remarkable analogy, too, between the immediate cause receptiveness in the cultivated ground on the one hand, and the immediate cause of the receptiveness of a
XIX. human heart on the other. A broken, a contrite heart
SOME AN HUNDREDFOLD. is the ordinary expression for a humble disposition of scul, crushed by a sense of sin, and thirsting for the living water. It is where the ground is broken small that They believed. The word is little; the thing is greatthe seed finds its way into the soil and the grain is is life from the dead. By this one step they passed from gathered in harvest ; in like manner it is in those who a state of condemnation to a state of peace with God. have been bruised by conviction of sin, and as it were They escaped from a house built on the sand before it melted by the mercy of God, that the offer of the gospel fell, and took refuge in the house that was built upon gres home, and the fruits of righteousness ripen apace. the rock. The moment before they were without Christ,
The second characteristic of Berean nobility is the and therefore without hope in the world : the moment exercise of private judgment. They searched the Scrip- after, they were in Christ, and heirs of eternal life. The tures daily, whether these things were so. This short, step they took that day separated them conclusively simple intimation puts to shame the sophistry with from all the wicked, and allied them for ever with the which Rome has for ages striven to conceal the Word of true and pure. Their life is hid now with Christ in God from the people. Charity is popular in our day, God: none shall ever be able to pluck them from their and "great is the company of them” that preach it; but Redeemer's hand. we must see well to it lest we make a fatal mistake as If any should ask, How could interests so vast turn on to what is charity. Charity is not an equal regard for a point so small ? How could the act of a moment,truth and falsehood,- for light and darkness. Charity the secret quiver of the soul's affection in transferring is love; but how can you really love your brother if you itself to the Saviour,-how could this mental act become do not loathe and denounce that which destroys him ? the turning-point between woe and weal for eternity ? You cannot love your brother, and fondle the serpent which All decisive turnings are made on points. It is on sharp is stinging him to the second death. The political senti- points that great magnitudes can best be turned. He ment which in the name of charity supports the Papacy was born : he died. These are small points; and how is a delusion. It is a dream from which political men vast the issues that move on them ! People speak will be awakened by some rude shock. It is a spurious vaguely about the poles of the globe : these poles are liberalism that under any pretext pets and feeds the mathematical points ; yet how huge is the mass that greatest enslaver of mankind. It is noble, says the spins round upon them from age to age ! Spirit of God, for private men to search the Scriptures Many believed. A swelling of spiritual life sometimes vlaily in order to deternine thereby the truth or false- comes over a city or a country, as the tidal wave comes hood of any doctrine that may be proposed for their ac- over the ocean,- lifted and led, in both cases, by a disceptance: for this noble act the Romish hierarchy has tant power in the heavens. Therefore many believed : everywhere persecuted even unto death.
the effects are distinctly traced to their immediate cause. The term rendered "searched” in the text indicates | The minds of the listeners inclined and opened to the