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former year ;
taste. A lawyer, who lived in the neighbourhood, had more than once had his garden robbed, and suspicion had fallen on Joe Sharp. The next year, when the fruit was ripening, a board was exhibited, bearing a notice that steel traps and spring guns were placed in those gardens. The board was fixed in a tree, loaded with fine jargonel pears; near to it was a tree of choice apples, just beginning to look ruddy; and on the other side, one well hung with magnum bonum plums. Through the palisades, too, it was easy to see the well-trained vines, apricot, peach, and nectarine trees, each bearing their respective produce in several stages of advance. Joe Sharp often passed that way, both by day and by night; but he never attempted to enter. The trees were not less tempting or less accessible than in any
but it was plain that the temptation was not irresistible. It was observed, that a few days after the above notice was exhibited, in going to and from his work, Joe took the path across the fields, instead of going round the road way, by the lawyer's garden. Now,” continued my uncle, “I am no friend to steel traps and spring guns. I would rather lose every bit of fruit that my garden produces, than I would endanger the life or limb of the greatest rogue in the world ; but I think every person who desires to conquer a bad temper, or break a bad habit, should contrive for himself some moral restraint, at least as powerful and efficacious. If every angry breath of yours pressed upon the wire of a spring gun, or if a glass of spirits were only to be reached by putting your hand within the jaws of a steel trap, do you not think you should find that
had power to resist the temptation, if you chose to do
so ? Then, do not deceive yourself by saying, 'It is of no use to try. Read the declarations and warnings of Scripture, and if you believe them to be as true and real as the steel traps and spring guns, you will find them quite as efficacious; and, instead of running into temptation, and hugging evil to your heart, with a pretence that you cannot get rid of it, like Joe Sharp, you will not only no longer find yourself under any necessity of climbing the wall, and snatching the forbidden fruit, but you will turn away your eyes from beholding vanity; you will not enter into the
of temptation, but will avoid it, turn from it, and pass away,” Prov. iv. 15.
“ It is impossible to preserve peace,” said a member of a family remarkable for disgraceful broils. “ Father is so passionate, and mother so fretful, and John so selfish, and Mary so touchy, and Jane so mischief-making. I lead a weary life among them all: we are always quarrelling. I should be glad to keep peace, but it is of no use to try.”
“No doubt there is some difficulty,” said my uncle,“ in maintaining harmony among persons of different tempers and dispositions. This is implied in the very phraseology in which we are exhorted to strive after it. “Seek peace,' as that which is easily lost; and pursue it, as that which is apt to run away, Psa. xxxiv. 14: but while you say that it is of no use to you give an infallible evidence that something is wanting on your own part, and that you are by no means free from the charge of contributing to family discord. Go home, my young friend, with a determination, in the strength of Divine grace, to watch over and correct your own spirit ; and I am very much mistaken if
you do not find it is of great use to try. Endeavour to remove from
occasion of provocation ; be more gentle and soothing in your deportment to your mother; let John see in you an example of generosity; and Mary, one of conciliation and forbearance; and endeavour to engage Jane in such conversation as is good to the use of edifying. If you sincerely and steadily strive to do this, I think that peace will be a much more frequent visitant, if not a constant resident, in your family; and I am sure that you will find it a lovely inmate in your own bosom, diffusing there a tranquillity and happiness, which outward commotions cannot disturb."
“I know that I ought to keep my children under proper subjection, and restrain them from evil : but I cannot do as many people can; I find it impossible to maintain order and discipline in my family ; my children are unruly and disobedient, I cannot keep them in order, and it is of no use to try." "That,
“ That,” said my uncle, can never be; you own it is your duty to do it, and what God, by his commands, has made your duty, can never be impossible. It was a noble sentiment, which a British officer expressed, when pointing to an enemy's vessel, of superior force to that which he commanded, he said to his brother officers, “Tomorrow we must carry that vessel into port.' The other officers replied that it was impossible. 'Impossible!' rejoined the captain; do not tell me so, when I hold in my hand his Majesty's order to accomplish it! A similar sentiment may and ought to be applied to every enterprise, however arduous, every duty, however difficult, for which we can produce a clear command from the King of
kings. Now God has commanded all parents to rule well their own households; to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord ; to command their children and households after them to keep the way of the Lord. See Gen. xviii. 19; Eph. vi. 4. Those parents who sincerely endeavour to do this, depending upon Him who has given the command, to give the ability to fulfil it, will find heavenly wisdom given to direct them in their perplexities, power from on high to sustain them in their feebleness, and an efficacious blessing to crown their feeble efforts ; but those who neither strive nor pray have no right to complain that their duties are above their own strength.
“ And is it not equally unreasonable and inconsistent, when persons attempt to excuse themselves in remaining in an unconverted state, by saying, that they cannot change their own hearts,—that conversion is the work of God alone; and that till he bestows his special grace, it is in vain for them to try? If there were a sincere desire after conversion, the sinner would not stay to speculate ; but would, by a sort of spiritual instinct, make an effort, and at the same time earnestly implore the aid of Sovereign Mercy : but he who makes inability his excuse, does neither ; and is justly condemned, not because he cannot, but because he will not, come to Christ that he may have life.”
“I have so many duties pressing upon me,” is sometimes the language of a wearied, burdened Christian, “it is impossible for me to fulfil them all : and it is of no use to try.” This is like some of the hasty words spoken by good men of old, which they invariably corrected, with shame and regret for their mistake. “You perplex yourself,"
uncle to one of these, “with far too many things at once, and so disable yourself for attending to any. No person has more than one duty to perform at one time, and for every duty there is an allotted moment. Do not loiter, do not confuse yourself by attempting too much at once; but quietly fill up every moment with its own duty: and in the evening of every day, and at the close of life, while you will find deep cause for selfhumiliation, you
will still, in some humble degree, enjoy the satisfaction of a consciousness that you have finished the work that was given you to do.”
“And the troubles and perplexities of life, how they rise one after another! I shall never be able to surmount this difficulty; I can never bear up
, under this stroke ; and it is of no use to try. “Courage, my fellow pilgrim," said my good uncle, “your circumstances are very trying : but the darkest day,
• Wait till to-morrow, will have pass'd away.' Look upward ; dark as the night may be, a gleam of light will still appear from above; or if you cannot discern any, still trust in the Lord, and stay yourself upon your God: while you do this, you will renew your strength; and of those very troubles that now so grievously distress you, you will have to say, It was good for me to be afflicted.”
all in a few of my uncle's remarks at different times, on the common expression, “ It is of no use to try.”
It is almost always an evidence of want of sincere desire to try.
No one knows what he can do till he tries.
I sum up