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his going astray. They form a barrier foot against a wall. Next, it fell down, of no mean strength between him and and refused to proceed. After that, it the way of transgressors ; and if he spoke with him. At last Balaan sa w ever enters that way he finds it “hard” the angel of the Lord, with drama to enter.
sword, standing before him, to interAsk the swearer how he felt when cept his progress. It is so with all he uttered his first oath. He will tell sinners. God makes it toilsome to peryou that the blasphemous words seemed severe in the broad road. He will cot to burn and blister his lips as he ut force them back. He employs neither tered them. Inwardly, he trembled at physical force nor irresistible miracthimself. Ask the sensualist how he lous power wherewith to make men ry felt when he first yielded to the per- | trace their steps. Notwithstandin:. suasions of the fair but deceitful He does everything but that. temptress. He will tell you that he makes the “way" a rough " way," was so ashamed of his sin that he would stony “way," a thorny “way." . not have it known at any cost. Ask the “ way" that hurts the foot, and was thief how he felt when he committed his | ries the traveller. He sends wind and first robbery? He will tell you that he rain, thunder and lightning, by whih had no peace. He will confess that he | to induce the infatuated wanderurtin felt as if society had organized itself return. into a huge detective power, watching “The way of transgressors is hard" his offence, and dodging every step he to keep in, because sinful ple * took.
never satisfies. It is a solemn but mHow comes it to pass that so many deniable fact that the pleasure La criminals are drunkards ? It is partly · only as long as the sin lasts. When accounted for on the ground that “the the one goes, the other follows it. In way of transgressors” is so hard to religion there is, first the bitter, the get into. Men have to muddle their the sweet; in the wickedness there is reason by strong drink, and they are first the sweet, and then the bitter. Tou compelled to take the fine, keen edge practice of iniquity may be pleasi off their moral sensibilities by intoxi but its memory is ever painful. The cation, ere they can commit the atroci of the vain and worldly. Here, fo ties of which they are guilty. The example, is a slave of fashion, oh! murderer can seldom do his cruel deed whose first inquiry is, “Wherewitha coolly and deliberately. He must first shall we be clothed ?" She sped work himself up to a frenzy of ex hours in discussing the merits of a 37 citement by swallowing “liquid fire." dress, and cannot sleep sometim s foi What do fallen women tell our own thinking of the shape or trimmings o missionaries and others who seek to a fresh bonnet. When she dons be reclaim them? They say that they elegant attire, and walks the parks -could never live the lives which they when she arrays herself in her glitr do without the aid of alcoholic stimu ing baubles, and paces the drawn. lants. “The way of transgressors is room,--when she links hands with the hard” to get into.
dancers at the ball, and wins sur II. It is hard to keep in. Look at rounding admiration,-all is a great Balaam. When he went forth to curse enough. But when sickness and ! Israel, he was in “ the way of trans versity come, how hollow and a gressors.” But how “hard” he found seems the world to her! Poor all it to continue therein! What diffi That wreath of artificial flowers. culties God put in his path! Hel minds her of a better crown which seemed to use almost every means of has never sought; that hands! sending him back. First, the ass, with dress reminds her of the robe o. more sense than its master, turned | Saviour's righteousness which she . aside into a field. Then it thrust his never prayed for; those jewelled 01.24
ats remind her that she might | When the deed is done, and cannot be Ere had “the ornaments of a meek | undone, then comes satiety,- then all quiet spirit which in God's sight comes the reaction of the fierce excito
of great price;" that highly ment; the hot blood begins to flow polished mirror reminds her that she more slowly ; then rises up in the heart wat have beheld, “as in a glass, the conscience; then rises up in maPory of the Lord,” and been “changed jesty in the soul reason; then flashes 17.) the same image, even as by the and flares before the eye the yiyid
ut of the Lord.” Thus does re picture of the consequences. His Ti pe make “ the way of transgressors enemy has found the sinner. He has 1" for her to keep in. Think of the I got the vineyard,-ay, but Elijah is funkard. There is enjoyment in in there, and his dark and stern presence toxication. It drowns the sense of sucks all the brightness and the sun(sre. As the pitiable maniac, sitting niness out of the landscape, and NaII the ward of an asylum, holds a both's blood stains the leaves of Na
in his hand, and fancies it a both's garden! There is no sin which mitte, harangues his fellow-lunatics, is not the purchase of plousure at the si imazines himselfa monarch speak price of peace.” L2 w his subjects, so intemperance is “ The way of transgressors is hard” Ispanies of temporary insanity, mak to keep in, because to keep in it brings
? its victims fancy themselves to be | punishment. The etymology of the ther than they are. But when the word “transgress” is significant. It ** of intoxication is over, how then? is derived from two Latin wordsbad mary comes. When the glare trans, across; and gradior, to step.
the tavern at midnight is ex Therefore, to transgress, is to step banged for the steady,uncompromising across God's boundaries. This can
ht of day; when song and joke, not be done with impunity. If a "Boring bowl” and boon companions,
man steps across any boundary, ho *** substituted by an aching head, an suffers for it. Yonder, for instance, is a Dzular pulse, hot hands, parched poacher or a housebreaker. To effect -and, above all, a reproving | his purpose he breaks through a thick Evience; then, surely, “the way | and high fence. The result is that his transgressors is hard” to keep in.
hands are scratched, his face is bleedHins listen to the confession of one ing, and his clothes are torn. This 72), alas! wandered too far and too serves to indicate the principle of 13 in the forbidden path - Robert
retribution. Whenever you step across ons:
any barrier that God has put between ** Pleasures are like poppies spread,
us and evil, you suffer for it. Jacob You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;
stopped across the boundary of truth Or like the snow falls on the river,
when he both spoke and acted the base A moment white-then gone for ever;
lie which won for hiin his brother's Or like the borealis race,
birthright. But he had to pay tho That flit ere you can point their place; Or like the rainbow's lovely form,
penalty of exile for it. David stepped Evanishing amid the storm."
across the boundary of chastity when
he committed adultery with Uriah's 115 true, not of one form of sinful wife. But how bitter were the results !
asure only, but of all, that "at the witness his mourning over the dead *stit biteth like a serpent and sting- child, and his mourning over his own
he like an adder.” As it has been dead virtue. Peter stepped across the will written, “ Passion fulfils itself and boundary of courage when thrice he expires. The desire is satisfied, and denied his Master. But he “went out tirns into a loathing. The tempter and wept bitterly,” reaping a harvest
us to him, and then unveils the l of sorrow from the seed of sin. These fine that lies beneath the mask. I are exemplifications of what still
occurs. Retribution, though not fully unable to take Troy, they resolved at administered in the present world, last to attempt by stratagem what follows transgressors, and therefore is they could not achieve by force. their “way” “hard” to keep in. Constructing an immense wooden
III. It is hard to get out of. Why? | horse, they asked their enemies to Because, in the course of time, it be- | allow them, ere they returned home, comes a habit to go in it. It is like a to bring it into the city as an offering man leaving the beaten track in a | to the gods. Consent was given. forest. On he goes, blundering and Great difficulty, however, attended the stumbling as he goes. The farther he work. So large was the artificial wanders in, and the longer he strays animal that every effort to drag him there, the more difficult is it for him through the gates failed, and it was to return. “Can the Ethiopian change only when a monstrous breach was his skin, or the leopard his spots ? Then made in the walls, that, by dint of may ye that are accustomed to evil do tremendous pulling, he was got in. good.” To quote from quaint Thomas Once in, he was not so easily got out; Fuller, “I read, in the Revelation, of for in the night, from his inside, sprang a beast, one of whose heads was as it hundreds of armed men, who, giving were wounded to death. I expected a signal to their comrades outside in the next verse that the beast should Troy, soon became victors. In hike die, as the most probable consequence, | manner, sin may not easily find considering: First, it was not a access to the heart; but, once there, scratch, but a wound; secondly, not a it is not easily expelled. In the process wound in a fleshy part, or out-limbs of of years, men become the slaves of evil. the body, but in the very head, the At first, habit is a slender silken throne of reason; thirdly, no light thread, then it becomes a cord, Dext wound, but in outward apparition it is a tightly-bound rope, finally it (having no other probe but St. John's transforms itself into a fast-welded eyes to search it) seemed deadly. But | iron chain, clanking at the foot and mark what immediately follows: 'And | hands of the ill-fated wearer, proclaim. his deadly wound was healed.' Who | ing him the bondsman of Satan. Very: would have suspected this inference wise was the fable of old. A stag and from these premises ? But is not this a horse being at variance fought. At a lively emblem of my natural corrup length the strength of the horse failed tion? Sometimes I conceive that, by him, and he sought the help of a man. God's grace, I have conquered and The man complied, got on his back, killed, subdued and slain, maimed and and chased the stag to death. So far mortified, the deeds of the flesh; never the noble steed overcame his difficulty: more shall I be molested or buffeted but, alas! it led to greater evils thun. with such a bosom sin: when, alas! | any he had yet experienced. With & by the next return, the news is, it is | bit in his mouth, and a saddle on bois raised and recovered. Thus tenches, back, he remained, to the end of his though grievously gashed, presently | days, at the mercy of his deliverer. plaister themselves whole by that It is just so with those who seek to slimy and unctuous humour they have wear away the ennui of life by asking in them; and thus the inherent balsam the help of sinful pleasure. It comes of badness quickly cures 'my corrup to their rescue, but the penalty is too tion, not a scar to be seen.”
often life-long slavery! We said, at the commencement of Hard to get out of, truly ! Think of our discourse, that it was “hard” to unbelief and its effects. There are get a sin into the soul. So it is. But | hundreds who seem gospel-hardenede once in, it is far harder to get it out. | So accustomed are they to hear and to When the Greeks had been at war with reject the message of salvation, that, the Trojans for many years, and were though once they felt the power of the
Word, now it is lost upon them. Intri- | already far down on the road leading cate and toilsome, indeed, is the moral to ruin, let us, by Divine grace, reabyrinth through which they must trace our steps. Seeking the forgivemake their way, ere they reach the ness of the past, asking the renewing "green pastures and still waters.” power of the Holy Ghost, let us make
If, then, we have not wandered far heavenly wisdom our guide. We shall into this forbidden path, let the find “ Her ways are ways of pleasolemn facts under consideration warn santness, and all her paths peace.” Es against further progress. If we are
THE DUTY OF CARRYING RELIGION EVERYWHERE.
BY THE REV. HENRY WARD BEECHER.
Nothing is more common than for persons to excuse themselves to them. selves and to their religious friends for delinquency on account of their peculiar situation. It is a festive occasion, and men say, “You cannot expect much religion at such a time.” Or, it is a great public gathering, men are excited and hustled hither and thither, and the ready excuse is, "You cannot expect much religion under such circumstances.” Or, it is a iime in which every man is running to and fro, and excitement reeks in the way, and men say, “Of course, you cannot look for very much religion in such times as these." Now, I do! Such times as these are just the times 19 religion. They are the times above all others when we need it. They are the times, above all others, when, if you have it, you will show it.
Hitched to a plough together, a plough-horse and an Arabian horse are as moked one as the other; but when you put them on a long run, over hedges and ditches, and through ploughed fields and deep morasses, their blood tells. The Arabian can carry himself through difficulties and endure, whereas the back breaks down.
Anybody can be a Christian down-hill, but it is not anybody that can be a Christian up-hill. You can laugh when pleased, of course. You can be happy when people give you everything you want. You are wealthy; you are favoured; you keep up an equilibrium between health and disposition ; everything goes right with you; you meet people that you ove; and you sing and pray, and are happy, and feel religious. And I do not say a word against all this, but then that does not test you. Go where There are no meetings, where your duty is very hard, and where you are surfounded by many temptations and evil influences ; and then, if you have the spirit of religion, it will show itself. And it is at such times that it is laist grateful to the heart of your Master. You are witnesses for Christ bader such circumstances. And it is under such circumstances that your iness is most efficacious upon men. Where other men do not act like firistians, if one be found that does, his example goes further than any other exhibition that a Christian man can possibly make.
Of course, the question comes right back to this : How can a man carry his religion under such circumstances ? A great many people, you know, carry their religion as men carry matches and tinder. They keep them in a little box by themselves. They are obliged to keep them dry, in order to have them answer any good purpose. If they do not, when they scratch the matches they will not go off. And men have an idea that religion is a particular experience or feeling, to be employed a particular part of the time, and that they must keep it carefully boxed up so that they can use 11 when they need it.
Now, what is religion? If you go to one class of persons, that have ber'i brought up thoroughly in ecclesiastic notions, hierarchic ideas, and ask them what religion is, they will tell you that it is performing certain prscribed duties at a given time, in a sacred place, and in a reverent mannar. The supreme idea of such persons is, that religion consists in the offerin; of prayers and praise at proper times, and in proper places and ways. Tht? feel that, when that is done, their religion is done. They feel that they have done their duty when they have done up their religion all right. li you go to another class of persons, you shall find that their impression of religion is a high emotive social state, full of religious fervour and feeli'.s As long as they are in that state, they think they are in the Spirit, aná blessed—as they are. If you go to another class, you shall find that thrin idea of religion is that it is a practical, stern sense of duty. All tie* include an element of truth ; but they are all partial when token alone and by themselves. For I understand religion to be that grace of God, or, rather, that divine power, which rests upon the mind, and develops it 0? every side harmoniously into activity. So that, when the reason is touched by God's Spirit, the right use of reason is religion ; when God's mind It is upon the moral sentiments, the right use of the moral sentiments is religioa: when the affections are quickened by heavenly inspirations, the right use of the affections is religion. Religion is not any one thing. It is the gollis right of the soul under the divine influence. Every part of it that suami right is religious.
If a man feels that his religion is a set performance of prescribed duties, confined to times and seasons, he will always be troubled to know how to carry his religion into his business ; for, trying to mix such religion with business is like trying to mix water with oil. But if religion is not that, it it is carrying yourself right under the influence of God's Spirit, at all times and in every place, then you are religious whether you are singing and praying among God's people in a church, or whether you are at home sporting with your children. You are leading a religious life in the latter case as really as in the former; not devotionally, but affectionately. And, if you can carry yourself in that way, you are also religious in your business The Apostle says, “ Whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ve do, do all o the glory of God." Business is a part of your religious lite. It is not a part of your devotional life ; but devotion is only a part of your religious life. Buying and selling are a part of a man's religious life, it he is a diet chant. Hewing and sawing are a part of a man's religious life, if he