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WORDS TO YOUNG MEN. *
BY THE REV. S. G. GREEN, B. A.
THERE are some special reasons why, in a generation like the present, young men, as such, should band together to declare that they are not ashamed of Christ. In many quarters it seems regarded as almost unmanly to be 8 sober, serious Christian ; and, of all classes of the community, young men are most tempted thus to feel. Look around on many of our congregations, in church or chapel, aristocratic or plebeian, and it would appear as if the youths who ought to have been there had left religion to their mothers and their sisters. “I recollect," says one, “asking my mother once whether there would not be five times more women than men in heaven, and her answering me sadly and seriously that she feared there would be." I sup pose he had been taking observations from the family pew; and we hardly wonder at his speculations. Why the fact should be thus would lead me very far to inquire. Nor would I condescend to argue with any who might be disposed to regard personal vital godliness as in any way effeminate or weak. And yet it is a right and wise thing, when there are so many shallow scorners ; lads who think it manly to be impious, and brilliant to be profane ; that the inanliness and brilliancy of the youthful manhood in our churches should band together to rebuke the miserable falsehood, and to show that there is no dignity like the dignity of following and obeying Christ.
Yes, Christianity is manly. I do not say that all professed Christians are so. Young men I have known, very good and pious, but by no means remarkable specimens of what we understand by manliness. They were al the sort which are always taken as the type of the Christian young man by the Saturday Review and the popular novelists. Very mild and quiet, spruce and a little affected, without energy, muscular or mental, probably with little lisp, no “pluck" in them, as their male friends would say; while, probably, friends in the other sex would add “they cannot say boh to goose !" I confess I have met this youth now and then in real life-much more often in such writings as I have referred to. But what does the picture prove ? Only, that in connection with certain natural or physical qualitie the influence of religion has been felt; and surely this influence, though it has not developed the man into a Hercules, or an energetic man of business, or even a good cricketer, has to some extent been elevating. I would prove this by a companion picture. The same natural and pbysical qualities have seen without Christianity to guide or to inspire the nature-and what has been the result? Look at yonder little fellow. He, too, has the listy although he is neither spruce nor demure. He is going “to business." Thouge it is early morning, a short pipe in his mouth-not because he particularly likes the flavour, but because he fancies it looks knowing ; while, should the “ governor" appear in sight, he will slip the pipe into the side pocket al
* From an Introductory Lecture to a Christian Young Men's Society,
the extraordinary little shooting-jacket that he weats. Not that he ever ahot anything in his life—he would probably be afraid of that—only, again, be thinks it looks knowing to be so attired. He is talking to one of his own iz-it would seem about some discreditable amusement of the evening before-while the self-satisfied leer on their little faces seems to say, “ What fine fellows we are !" Their cheeks are pale and unwholesome, most likely fom the effects of bad tobacco, smoked at all hours, but especially in the grencon, because that is manly and rakish. “Do you bject to smoking ?” Fou may probably be asked, about nine o'clock in the morning, should it be your hap to enter a railway carriage with a young “gent” of this class. A friend of mine once replied indirectly, but effectively, to this question, by replying that the questioner looked as if he wanted somebody to take care of him. Poor, self-conceited weaklings. They cannot be strong or energetic if they tried; it is not in their nature. But they might, at least, make the best of themselves, and set off their natural smallness by a little decency, cleanliness, and humility.
But, of these I will not further speak. There is another class, somewhat more abundant, perhaps, among our better educated, and really sensible Foung men, to whose manhood we cannot but feel that religion would give the crowning grace. These are of the school over which Dr. Arnold used to La ment as the nil admirari school-much fostered, if report speaks truly, in certain sets at our national universities. These men are intelligent, cultiTated—to a certain extent refined and agreeable—but they are not religious;
hiefly, as it would seem, because they regard all enthusiasm as bad taste-13 they would express it, a “ bore." The celebrated expression of a " used-up" oung American would perhaps meet their views : “ There's nothing new, ind there's nothing true, and it don't signify!" Excited, perhaps, by picfures, or by architecture, or by the fine points of dogs or horses, should dur tastes happen to lie in that way, they walk with entire imperturbality through the land of truth. They are ashamed of emotion, be it ever genuine; when they fall in love, they are always afraid lest any sudden
ss of sentiment should make them seem ridiculous. They belong to that has been called the “haw-haw" school-sometimes from very coldness ud flippancy of nature-sometimes from a strange unnatural repression of hilse nobler elements of manhood, which would assert themselves in strong, Tand ways, if only they might have free play; and this repression is essencally unmanly. Beware, I would emphatically say, of the spirit which aunot kindle, and refuses to admire ; which does not heartily hate the Erong, and as earnestly delight in, and sympathize with, the right. Nothing, -epnfess, so moves my indignation as the languid indifference, or the chilling Iber, which only proves either the want of a power to appreciate, or the Lainelination to take the trouble, as though the motto were-.“ Black's not Ey back, nor white so very white.” The age wants BELIEVERS-men who To make up their minds, and act upon their convictions-knowing that cere is a truth to be sought and found, and held, as a matter of life and des:h; and, if such a truth there is, scorn is unmanly, and indifference is Teason.
Turning how to a quite different class of characters, there are those who do understand and exemplify, in a certain way, the principles of religion, but who combine with this a kind of false manliness. In fact, they may be called “ fast young Christians." They know that Christianity is not morose, and therefore they are frivolous. They hate affected sanctimoniousness, and cultivate an affected laxity. To avoid the suspicion of bigotry they become over-tolerant. That they may have the reputation of being good fellows, they allow it to be forgotten that they are Christians. Nay, they sometimes astonish even men of the world by the lengths to which they are ready to go. After joining with them in the dance, meeting them perhaps at the theatre, or exulting with them in riotous merriment the evening through, one will say--"If I can be a Christian, and do all this, I may as well become one forth with.” “No," another will add, “if I can be a Christian and do all this, I may as well leave the matter alone, for I do not see that it will make any difference."
Now, in such cases, I do not judge the heart. There might be a right motive somewhere at the bottom of the apparent inconsistency. It is not to be denied that some estimable Christian people, by their grim looks and their stern restrictions, have made the religion of Christ, who was Himself 80 genial and social, to appear repulsive. But no good end-to say the least—will be served by rushing into the opposite extreme. We shall gain neither respect nor moral influence by it in the long run. I think, of the two, I would rather be charged with cant than with inconsistency. At ang rate we know, and the world knows, that Christianity is a religion of selfrestraint. The manlier, I say, for that. For, however superficially attrattive the picture may be of a strong man exulting in his strength, or cheerful man rioting in the play of animal spirits, or a fearless man carrying out some daring project, and astonishing the world; there is something intrin sically nobler in the spectacle of a man strong enough to curb his own strength, regulating the ardour of his impulses, lifting himself too high care for the amusements that fascinate the world, and, in a word, denying self, that he may wholly follow Christ.
Such, then, I take to be one great purpose of your Association, to assert and to vindicate Christian manhood-adding to the throb of manliness the throb of brotherhood—and showing by all your collective as by your per sonal actions that you regard the law of Christ as the highest law of life
Tales and Sketches.
have asked to remember you in her
evening prayer. WANDERING lights and little soft | Her eyes, turned toward the city, Ladows shifting down the mountain were watching for something; and for slupe; the pencilling of trees against a something that did not come; for, at Sár, faint sky; & village nestled away the sound of a low cry within the among blossoming fields; a girl in a house, she turned with a sigh of disdoorway, with the outline of vine appointment, and went in. The shaleares on her forehead. It was a pretty dows of the vine-leaves followed her, picture.
and painted the floor, and touched her It fitted her, as she fitted into it. when she took the baby from its little Why should it not, since it had had bed, and sat down with it in her arms, the moulding of her?
hushing its cries. The wirds from the olive-trees had | “There, Rachel ! hush! hush! crided her earliest slumbers; the | Rachel, thee must not cry; mother towers blossomed only to be her play- | will come to thee soon. Miriam has mates; and the mellow Eastern sun- | been looking for some one, Rachel — 210 told stories to her through the hush! and she will tell the
hush ! and she will tell thee. Wilt Fine-leares, when she knew no langu thou not listen, and hear how Miriam me but her mother's lullaby. Above, was watching for-". de calm, perpetual hill-top looked “Miriam !" called a boy's voice from for hver down into her baby-eyes; and, without. “Miriam !" Festward, her face had learned its first “Ah! there is the brother, baby Terence in turning toward the Holy | Rachel. We will go and see Ben-oni.'' Ir-the great, proud city, which was She went to the doorway again, and waiting for its King.
stood with the child in her arms. The She had taken these all into her shadows of the leaves upon the two, Dant-not less the flowers and the | made, perhaps, a prettier picture than
light than the silence of the moun- | the other. ain, and the stately front of the distant | "Hast thou been toward the city, simple, and the chanting of the priests Ben-oni?" it eventide. They had grown with "That I have, Miriam; I and Éleazer ** growth, and strengthened with the Levite's son, and we-" Se strength, and made her—just “What didst thou see or hear upon biam; that was all. Miriam with the the way ?” interrupted Miriam. “I Lurd, warm, happy cheeks, and the thought I saw clouds of dust, yonder, Ile of a child on her lips; with the | like, perhaps, a crowd.” car low on a forehead that held and “And a crowd it is!" replied the Is its own little thoughts, and her boy, with sparkling eyes ; "a fine one, erat, reverent eyes, into which the too, though I did not go after it.
low of an altar seemed to have Abiram, the weaver, says it is coming 11. Just a bit of nature herself-a | hither. I ran on to let you know ; ty, rounded bit, with all its little and Abiram says " retries touched in with tender “It is the King !" cried Miriam; Burs; a girl whom you would have | “it must be the King; and we shall **d and played with, and longed to I see Him-see Him, Ben-oni !" Salig into your home as you bring in “I should like to see Him well ctures, and light, and perfumed enough," said the boy, affecting carews; yet whom, perhaps, you would | lessness; “but Abiram says he is no
King - this Nazarene-but a bad man, they gave Him one moment's rest! and a sorcerer, Miriam. He says our Did he never take them into His heart, King will come with a golden throne, and carry them with Him on His and a crown, and soldiers-think, sorrowful way, side by side with the Miriam! He will not bring ragged hush of twilights, and the tenderness fishermen, and walk on the dusty of far-off skies, and the brightest roads, Abiram says, like this Jesus.” things our poor earth could offer Him
"Hush, Ben-oni !" answered I like to think so. Miriam, her great eyes darkening; For He turned and looked upoz “thou art doing wrong. Our mother Miriam. And the crowd, with its says He is the Christ, and she knoweth. faces of sin, and pain, and mourning, Indeed, He must be, for they say He swept Him on. doth make the dead alive. I think of “There !” said Ben-oni, “ He's him-0, so much, Ben-oni. I lie and dream and dream about Him in the Miriam drew a long, long breath. night. I wonder if He will look at me “Did you see Him, Miriam ?" She me, Ben-oni.”
sank down upon the grass, and covered The boy, abashed, made no reply, her face with her hands; she made no and Miriam, with the child in her answer. arms, came out from under the vines, “ He was very pale," prattled the and stood beside him.
boy, heedless of her silence; “but His “Where is our mother?" asked he, face was kind, like-like-why, I think looking down the road.
it's like our mother's, when we are “She is with neighbour Zipporah, sick. Miriam-see Rachel is creeping who is sick. Mother sits by her, and
away.” says the Psalms to her. 'Ben-oni! Miriam looked up, and took the see ! see! is not that?-yes, surely, He | child back again into hor arms. is coming!”
“Ben-oni, those were His discipled He was coming, the King, the Lord - the fishermen.” Omnipotent. Far down the dusty “Yes, and others, too, Miriam, road, wearied, footsore, travel-stained, People go to Him in the city; and without a place in which to lay His Jacob, the carpenter, went from here head that night-the poor of the earth last night. They say Eliakim, do77 His only friends; their sins His bur the street, will go, and " den; their sorrows His grief. He was “Ben-onicoming.
The boy looked up into her face. ! Miriam stood out in the sunlight, “Ben-oni, I wish I could be one of the child still clinging to her neck. His disciples.” Ah! would He notice such as she-a “Why, thou art nothing but a Troy little, foolish girl, who knew nothing man, Miriam!" but how to take care of the baby and “I know it. I do not suppose HQ sweep the house? Would He see her, I wants any women for His disciples her bending forward there, the eager And then there is nobody else to bep colour in her cheeks, her upturned mother.” eyes, with the worship in then, eeeing “I should rather stay at home, alone, in all the passing throng, that observed Ben-oni, puzzled at her look one pale face, with its brow of pain Miriam rose and carried little Rachel and peace ?
into the house. Did you ever think how many such When her mother came, the two beautiful pictures came to Him in His looked into one another's eyes. weary years-pictures of waiting eyes, “Hast thou seen Him?" and tender household joys, and young, “I have seen him." fresh fancies? Did you never wonder “It is He !" if, while He saw and blessed them, I “I believe it."