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which he managed, and well he seemed to deserve his prosperity ; but I always thought that he trusted in himself too confidently, and believed, a little superciliously, that any one with equal prudence might do as well as he. He once told me that his firm had £80,000 more than they knew what to do with. He was no speculator, but eminently a safe man, and yet after the lapse of many years I found his factory closed. The busy noise had ceased. The thronged quadrangle was a blank solitude, and, as I gazed at the numerous windows of the deserted pile with the feeling which one has on first seeing the eyes of a friend struck suddenly blind, and glistering with a light they cannot see, it might have been a catacomb I looked at. It was a catacomb, for it was the burial-place of dead industry, and the master of it was dead too. The French treaty had destroyed his trade, and probably hastened his own end; for how could such a spirit bear to fail at the end of a long prosperity?

Another, more open and communicative than the last, unburdened his mind to me when in trouble. Simple in his habits, moderate in his desires, of untiring industry, sufficient capital, and a skilful master of his business, there appeared to be in him every element of success ; but a nameless undercurrent was against him. Difficulties arose which no prudence could avert, and his troubles reached their climax when the reign of “the working man” commenced. Here was a new and strange disturbing “ force." No one could be more zealous for the real welfare of his people, but, in the commotion incident to a new state of things, it seemed impossible to guide them. He was in despair, and said, “I am afraid that I must write failure on many of the best years


my life.” Words of deep emotion followed—the words of a wounded spirit. I was profoundly affected by them, for they were truly

“ Like the bubbling cry

Of some strong swimmer in his agony." A crisis in his character was clearly come, and I felt it my duty to try to sustain his faith in that which is good. Sometime afterwards, therefore, I alluded to our conversation, and, after a few business remarks, wrote him something like this: “Christians talk constantly and excitedly about the cross of Christ. They glory in its agonies, and deride the wisdom of the heathen who rejected it. Churches constantly ring with the bold avowal, 'The Greeks may call it foolishness, and modern philosophy may sneer at it, but we are not ashamed of the cross of Christ.' 'Show me the cross,' said a zealous pawnbroker,

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who vaunted the sincerity of his faith ; "shew me the cross, and I'll approach it.' I knew him pretty well, and if the approach' he spoke of was meant to imply a readiness to suffer any personal sacrifice of himself, my impression was very strong that he would not go too near ! At all events, if enthusiasts are not ashamed of the cross of Christ, they are often mightily ashamed of their own when adversity comes; but our Lord's words are : - Whosoever will come after me, let him take up his cross and follow me' (Mark viii. 34). His cross, my friend, not *the cross of Christ.' He who bore that cross literally—one Simon of Cyrene—was forced to do so by the Roman soldiery, and nothing is said of his deriving any spiritual benefit from that enforced labour. On the other hand, none but He who bowed the heavens and came down,'-none but the Redeemer Himself, --could have borne the spiritual agony with which all hell assailed Him the accursed tree,' until He said, “It is finished.' We could not bear that cross which redeemed the world by opening 'a new and living way' to heaven for all mankind. What, then, does our Lord mean by our cross? How many in all Christendom have earnestly and searchingly inquired, “What is my own cross?' For the most part the very existence of such a thing as the cross of our individual salvation is positively ignored, or, if confessed, it is a vague confession, leading to nothing; for to use the common phrase, 'I am the chief of sinners,' and other inflated phrases like it, is not to define a special cross, but to stifle self-examination in a foam of words. All truly pious thought

a and affection are absorbed in that other cross which we cannot bear, and are not commanded to bear. To Thy cross I cling' is the passionate self-dedication of the very devout, to which they add, “Just as I am ! just as I am !' But our Lord did not say, “Follow me just as you are, just as you are ;' He said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me; for whosoever will save his life shall lose it' (Matt. xvi. 24). Surely this absolute self-denial, even to the laying down of our unregenerate life, with its affections and lusts, cannot mean just as you are ?' but must imply : vital change of character and habit of action based on the mortification of our selfish nature. Some change, indeed, is generally said to take place, but it is too often a change from mere carelessness to mere inflammatory thought. In too many cases nothing else is changed. The man is as bad as before according to his own declaration, 'Just as I am !—just as I am !' Such people do not care to know that they are to be saved by bearing their own cross, not by looking at the

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cross of Christ.' Now what is your cross, my friend ? Nothing among the formulæ of spiritual science is more clear than that which defines it. What is your life's love? The love of your actual, practical life, I mean? That on which you have set your heart and mind? Is it not to establish a business which shall enable you to content moderate desires ; to find means to give your children a good education ; to prevent your old age from being a burden to any one, and to help such of your family and others as cannot help themselves? No earthly objects can be more worthy; but to a good mind the torment of apprehended or of actual failure in their pursuit will be keen in proportion to their

Our cross, therefore, is pre-eminently the disappointment of our dearest earthly hopes and wishes, whatever they may be. Some cannot bear the mortal strain of disappointment in achieving good objects, and to them may be permitted only the lighter trials which purify, or may purify, the comparatively lesser good they have ; but you are called upon to bear the great tribulation, and to you I say, 'Hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown' (Rev. iii. 11); but as to 'failure,' do not fear it; take in both worlds when you think of it; for the question will shortly be, not about the easy content in which you might have lived if you had had the disposal of events, but has your self-dependence become less ? Has your faith in the Lord's promises assumed a more spiritual quality? Is your hope in His mercy brightened though in tears? Can you say, 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him' (Job xiii. 15). Are your sympathies larger and more tender ? Have you a word of hopeful promise for him who strives in vain ? Do you feel more and more that you are the brother of every one that mourns? Have you learnt to leave all for His sake who endured a far greater cross for you? If large affairs are denied you, can you put your hands submissively to little things, remembering the words,

Thou hast been faithful over few things, I will make thee ruler over many things ?' Are your spirits sometimes broken and sad, so that you cannot look

up; but in the main, are you still ready to do what good you can, though all your doings hitherto seem only to have led to disaster? Why, then, where is the failure ? My dear friend, the angels are waiting for you. What attendants would you have? The Judge Himself invites you among those to whom He says, 'Come, ye blessed of My Father' (Matt. xxv. 34). What welcome can be equal to that? Dives, indeed, says that you have failed; but he, while 'faring sumptuously every day' on his good things, little thinks what waits him. Yours are yet to come; and though a hard world may

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applaud his verdict, and write ' Failure' on the poor stone that covers your mortal body, Success' shall be written in glory on your immortality.”






That man is a being of a twofold character is a truth that has been discerned in all ages. The ancient philosophers and metaphysicians understood and avowed that there was a divine and spiritual, as well as an animal and material side of his nature, and this knowledge implies that a prior revelation of divine truth was handed down to them. Conscience, the regulation of the conduct according to the true relation of the internal to the external nature of man, is indeed perceived by most Christians to occupy the throne of the mind, and to be a bond of peace between the deep-seated affections of the heart, and the truths in the intellect, when outward actions conform themselves to its dictates. It is sometimes regarded as the sovereign to whom allegiance is felt to be due. It is the ruler to whom the thoughtful man looks for encouragement and direction in the deed he is about to accomplish ; and when he has obeyed its precepts he has a satisfaction of soul which cannot be disturbed. It is the standard to which the thoughtless or indifferent cannot but turn back, even as they are carrying out the purposes of the will, and in its dictates they seek to find an approval of their conduct, however slight it be, and in default of such approval create one from their phantasies to suit a present purpose, persuading themselves that the end justifies the means, the end being good in their estimation, notwithstanding the existence of “the still small voice” within them, the echo of truth, declaring that they have made unto themselves evil of good, and good of evil. That conscience is not born with man is evident from many considerations. Man is born into no science (much less conscience.) An infant does not even apply, from any connate science, to its mother's breast, but is taught to do so by frequent applications from the mother or the nurse ; nor does it know how to walk, or to form its voice to any articulate sound, or do anything else unless it is taught. “A man is born into no science, to the intent that he

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may arive at all science, and advance to understanding, and thereby to wisdom: and he is born into no love, to the intent that he may arrive at all love, by a prudent and intelligent application of the sciences, and by love towards his neighbour, into love to God, and thus be conjoined with God, and by that means become truly a man, and live eternally” (T. C. R. 48). It is further evident that conscience is not connate with man from the fact that it may become so seared and warped as to be removed from his nature.

What was once regarded as the rightful sovereign and judge of inner affections and outward conduct may be dethroned. Then is its voice silenced by the fiercer passions of the natural man, which have usurped the place of authority, and set up his self-hood in its stead. It is certain that this conscience, this equity in judgment, cannot be attained but by a principle altogether independent of those affections and thoughts and conduct to which it is to be applied. This truth may be illustrated by an argument of a modern writer in support of the spiritual authority of the Church. He says, “ The due direction of thought can never be given but by those who are not constrained to bend to the thoughts of others. It will ever be the great object of tyranny, whether regal or democratic, to beat down this central, independent authority; to render the censors of morals subservient to the dominant power, and, under the specious pretence of emancipating mankind from spiritual shackles, in effect to subject them to a far more grievous temporal oppression.” Conscience, not being connate with man, is formed within him by the religious principles instilled into him from his youth upwards, and which he knows or believes to be true. It follows, as the only natural sequence, that as a man changes his knowledge and belief his conscience will change with it. In other words, he will receive a new conscience, or moral sense of what is good and true; for it is obvious to every one who studies human nature that whatever the quality of the principles in which a man has been educated, or has educated himself, such will be the conscience resulting from them. This truth is significantly uttered by the principal character in Voltaire's dramatic masterpiece, Zaïre, when she exclaims :

“ La coutume, la loi plia mes premiers ans
A la religion des heureux musulmans :
Je le vois trop ; les soins qu'on prend de notre enfance
Forment nos sentiments, nos meurs, notre croyance.
J'eusse été près du Gange esclave des faux dieux,
Chrétienne dans Paris, musulmane en ces lieux.

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