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when one stays away, one ceases to care, after a time; and one is too busy at home to think of anything of the sort. It makes one quite hard like."
Another stays away because she had something on her mind and was fretting, or was too busy to think. And this objection, according to their strange notions, instead of bringing them oftener, should drive them away. All these cases require very skilful management. To know when to press the necessity of coming and when to leave it alone, is in many cases very difficult. Of course, though the teacher will endeavour to remove difficulties when they are freely confessed, she will not and dare not induce any to come from mere persuasion. Every evil example shown by a communicant does but increase the foes of our Church, and add to the actual dread of drawing near to the Lord's Table so keenly felt by the poorer classes. But the easiest and simplest plan for the teacher to adopt is to carry out her system of classes, assembling as many as she can get together for the express purpose of reading with them on this subject. Where she still finds some ignorant she may gather these together for the purpose of instructing them again on the second sacrament. But she shonld, besides, hold preparatory classes two or three days before the Communion Sunday for those who intend to communicate. Half the reasons for communicants absenting themselves or coming rarely, and for others refusing to come, proceeds from not knowing how to prepare themselves, not liking to come without, and from seldom finding a quiet hour at home where they may read and pray. A short lecture on this subject, introducing passages of Holy Scripture to be read by all, and followed by short collects and prayers selected from those well known to them in the Prayer-Book, and upon the special points of confession, amendment, faith, and charity, will be found eagerly appreciated and made use of. A lady established this kind of class in an agricultural parish in the south of England, upon the complaint of one of the young women that she “ didn't know how to examine herself or how to prepare, that she didn't.”
The lady printed for her class simple selfexamination questions applicable to their position, and then used to summon all the newly confirmed and every young communicant on the Friday before the Communion Sunday. She did not limit the invitation to the unmarried, but would ask all those who she thought might like to come, and who might perhaps need help. A rule was made that no one might come who had not made up her mind to communicate, as the prayers and lectures were framed with reference to intended communion. Many disappointments she had, and often from those who had promised to attend; but she, generally with two or three of her own servants, gathered together ten or twelve, and she always declared herself fully repaid, as she not only helped others but herself. She
included, during one year, all the newly confirmed except three, as well as those who returned home from their places for a short time, and about nine others belonging to the village-all of whom became steady communicants about once every two months. To each person she gave the self-examination questions, and her lecture generally contained some simple explanation, either of part of the communion service, or of the meaning, benefits, and requirements of the sacrament, with a few plain rules for preparation, and warnings for future consideration. The clergyman of the parish encouraged the continuance of this plan, as not only doing good to the individual members, but also indirectly benefiting their families and inducing some of the parents to accompany the girls. Such a monthly class might in every parish be easily introduced; and even if only the girls of the class are encouraged and helped to draw near more carefully and thoughtfully, the trouble would not be thrown away. Something of the sort is indeed necessary, both as a protection and a support to those who are ridiculed and opposed, and as a means of regulating the excitable and enthusiastic feelings of some of them, and of maintaining the serious resolutions of others. For the danger after confirmation, to some, of a complete reaction is great, after the straining of their minds and hearts. Others again fancy, like many of the poor, that they must show their zeal by attending every possible meeting, whether at church or chapel. Zeal, with them, means religious excitement. Here is an opportunity of making a stand against extravagance and an erroneous estimate of the sacraments, With the Bible in their hands, they may prove their need of that Bread of Life which shall strengthen and raise them above false principles, evil companionship, and low morality. They cannot, indeed, remove themselves before coming from any risk of hearing evil and unholy words, for then must they go out of the world; but, by the grace
presence of their Saviour, their hearts shall be closed against the influence of them. Wherever they are they will need this shield and this support; nor can their homes be happy until they hallow them by attendance there. If then the teacher has been zealous in her other classes, she will be still more unwearied here : towards this all her endeavours are directed as the sole legitimate completion of her scheme. The more she teaches, the more she will find that there is no stability short of this; that those who turn away or turn back fall into all kinds of sin, whilst the few who steadily adhere to this solemn duty are supported through very trying situations. And though her disappointments are many, and her labour great, the moment when she sees them uniting with her at the Lord's Table will repay her for all.
A MOURNER'S EASTER HOPES.
FORTH to the fields, my children!
Gather the fair young flowers, That greet the vernal breezes
And gentle April showers.
I would not shade your gladness,
Though I cannot share your glee, Spring is the saddest season
Of the long long year to me.
The year is young, as ye are,
Ah! sport with it whilst ye may, Like cleaves to like, my children,
And my prime has passed away.
So, in the freshness round me,
My sad spirit has no part, The promise of the spring-time
Brings no promise to my heart.
That lieth dead within me,
And on earth will wake no more, No ray
of mortal sunshine Can one buried joy restore.
But on the Easter breezes
Soft whispering hopes are borneHopes of a brighter spring-time
Of the Resurrection morn!
Then fairer spring will blossom,
And my heart may blossom too, Reviving in the Presence
That will then make all things new. SUNDAY THOUGHTS FOR WEEK-DAY PRACTICE.
THE FEAR OF DEATH,
"To deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."-HEB. ii. 15.
The fear of death! What a powerful and almost universal feeling is this ! and it is shared even by many for whom “the sting of death" has been drawn, and who therefore have a right to cast off all servile fear, and to regard what is called “the last enemy" in his proper light.
There is an instinctive love of life, and a consequent fear of death, that has been implanted in all human beings by their Maker for the purpose of self-preservation; and this is not to be deprecated, for God did not bestow on man the precious gift of life, that he should either wilfully or carelessly cast it away. And there is an awful dread of death, as the dark passage to an unseen and terrible life to come, that ought to be more strongly felt by unbelievers than is generally the case, until it is too late to incite them to seek a refuge from the thing they dread. It would be well if all such knew how much they actually have to fear, and how truly they are “subject to bondage," even though they may not perhaps acknowledge it; for there is frequently a reckless disregard of danger, and an apparent courage in facing death in those very individuals who have really the strongest reason to shrink from his cold hard grasp. Let such fear death ; let them tremble at his approach, for he is indeed their greatest enemy. Let them fear death until they have enrolled themselves under the banner of Him who took part in our nature, “that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
It is not such a fear that we would deprecate, but rather encourage it, that it may become a “godly fear that worketh repentance unto life." It is an excessive natural fear of death, regarded as a terrible evil in itself, that appears to us to be groundless; and which, therefore, it is desirable, if possible, to lessen in the minds of those who, through this fear, have been “all their life-time subject to bondage.”
Why should the Christian fear death ? Apart from the one great grief of leaving those he loves—those to whom his heart is so closely bound that they are dearer to him than all the world beside, or even than life itself-what is there to fear in exchanging this world, with all its many cares—all the work, and battle, and suffering of life-and, more than all, the sin, which is the Christian's heaviest burden, for the glorious realities of heaven? Why should an immortal being dread to lay aside a body of sin and death, which, at the best, is weak and imperfect, and liable to weariness and infirmity, and is often the instrument of intense anguish to the spirit that dwells within its mouldering frame; why fear to cast it aside, and go forth to enjoy the untiring activity of soul, which is the portion of “the spirits of just men made perfect," and which will hereafter be enhanced, and made yet more perfect by “the glorious body” that will be united to it? Who that actually believes in heaven, can shrink from a removal there? The passage may indeed be rough and sharp, or it may be gentle and easy; at all events, it must be comparatively short, and can never be experienced a second time.
There are some-we have known them—whose first-remembered feeling was a wish to die, a yearning after a better state than this, and a prayer to be taken to a heaven beyond the sky. It is not sorrow, it is not suffering, that gives rise to such a desire for a higher state of being than this. There may be countless blessings in the lot of an individual, and a great capacity for enjoying them; and yet he may feel that he has no satisfying portion here. He may say with a holy man now gone to his rest, “I would not live always. I would not desire to remain long in this lower world, even if all it has to give and it has much assuredly to gratify every natural taste-were to be placed in my possession. Oh no, I really believe that “the briefer time, the earlier immortality.' I really believe that my ransomed soul, purified in the blood of Christ, and clothed in the beautiful garments of His righteousness, will pass, at the moment of its separation from the body, into the presence of a reconciled God and Father, and enter on a life of perfect bliss, utterly inconceivable to our present faculties."
Inconceivable, we would say, as regards its measure and degree; for of the nature of our future happiness God has given us some idea in his Word. The heaven to which an awakened, ransomed, glorified Christian may aspire is indeed a place and a state of perfect rest from pain and care, and of perfect freedom from sin ; and is therefore a state of perfect spiritual joy. But, assuredly, combined with these negative blessings, he will be put in possession of every "pleasure at God's right hand " that a purified soul, and a spiritual, immortal body, can be capable of enjoying. Yes, we may believe that every taste, which is not sinful in itself, will hereafter be fully gratified.
That love of beauty, in all its forms, which is now so often a snare and a “besetting sin," and so frequently degenerates into "the last of the eye,” how will it be filled and satisfied in that place where God, the Author of all beauty, dwells—that “place” which the Son of God is “
gone to prepare for those that love Him!"
The grandeur and the beauty of scenery, the sublimity of lofty mountains, the thundering roar of the cataract, the magnificence of the primeval forest-yes, and even the loveliness of the flowers, which a