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priesteraft had put around it. You have got the higher faith. And yet you do not lead a higher life ! You have taken the honour from Son and Spirit, you ought to have more to give to the Father; but it does not appear. You are pretty much the man you were before you embraced this higher faith! Then I use to you the language I have used in the other case : your inquiry is vain, your questions are idle, your enlightened heterodoxy is a figment. The whole thing is worthless. It is only the spirit of the man who asked, “ Lord, are there few that be saved ?"
To sum up this: when a man desires to know not in order that he may feel and live, then he is idle. When a man asks, “ Are there few that be saved ?” and, receiving an answer, would be content with that answer—would not bestir himself to make the few many, or the many more—then he is idle: When few or many, none or all, he just goes on in his old way, neither roused to pity, nor stirred to actionthen he is idle. "He who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Thus much on the Spirit of Religious Inquiry. A word or two now on the Limits of Religious Inquiry.
It is very clear, unless we totally misread the meaning of the story, that there are such limits; that while free-thought and speech should never be forcibly repressed, there are regions which we have no moral right to enter and questions which we have no moral right to ask. After all, it is only one side of the truth to say all subjects are fit and proper subjects for free inquiry. I repeat there are some questions that a man has no right to ask. Here is a man who asks respectfully enough, " Are there few that be saved ?" and he gets no answer. Why? Because not only was the spirit of the inquiry a doubtful one, but the inquiry itself had no right to be made. It smacks a little of religious impertinence. It is the question of a religious busybody. What concern is it of his ? Let him strive to enter in himself, for he runs an awful risk of being shut out.
The thorough consistency of the Saviour in this matter is seen in the fact that on another occasion He gave a precisely similar answer to a precisely similar question. “Lord! and what shall this man do ? ” says the officious Peter, pointing to the modest John. What has he to do with that? It will take Simon Peter all his time to make his own calling and election sure. “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me."
You see then, my brethren, there are limits even to religious inquiry; and the times in which we transgress these limits are the times in which we forget our place and condition in the vast system of things. There are things in God's universe that you and I have nothing whatever to do with. There are doctrines of religion which He has not explained to us, dark mysteries of His providence that He has not revealed to us, pressing problems as to the ultimate issues of things which He has not solved for us; and I am not contradicting a word I have said when I affirm that our attitude in the presence of much here
should be that of patient modest silence. There is a tree of knowledge in the garden of every man's soul, and the Divine word is this, “ Of the fruit of every tree thou mayst freely eat: but of the fruit of that treo thou shalt not eat.”
And why should it not be so ? Does any parent here undertake to explain the entire circle of his thoughts and actions to his children ? to answer every silly or irrelevant question they may ask? Are there not limits to inquiry in every healthy home? And is God the only parent who does not care that his children shall be taught modesty ? Does a species of intellectual licentiousness, destroying all that is childlike and simple and sweet, belong only to the house over which the Divine Father presides ? Must every great question, be fingered and fathomed, or otherwise cast aside and rejected by those who are at best but “ infants crying in the night”? Must man set his puny foot on every sunuy height; or, failing this, refuse to walk contentedly in the plains below ? Must there be nothing to which he will look up in modest wonder, not daring to propound a question, or to institute inquiry?
Brethren, there must be. It is absurd to deny it. It would injure or ruin the Best in us if it were not so. I say there are not only questions which it is not lawful for a man to ask of God, but there are limits even in relation to strictly lawful inquiry. Religious inquiry and wild intellectual vandalism are distinct things; and after all that has been said in favour of free-thought, there is about the religion of Jesus Christ a kind of Divine dogmatism, which, to say the least, it is not modest to call in question, and whose only argument is, “ Thus, thus saith the Lord.”
Lastly, “Lord, are there few that be saved ?” An interesting question, is it not ? One, too, that is being asked pretty loudly just now. I will tell you of one much more interesting, one which this man totally overlooked. Are you saved ? Oh, how men will discuss the one ! Annihilation theories-restoration theories-orthodox theories ; don't these form interesting topics of social converse ? splendid subjects for essays !
Is Christian theology a playground ? Sitting in those pews, I say to you, brethren, few or many—are you saved ? Have you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ ? Are you at peace with God ? this solemn trifling with Divine things. Turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, so sħall you find everlasting rest in the everlasting Love.
PEGGY. “THEE can find nothing at all to can do for thee ;” and the speaker do ?” inquired Elizabeth Steele. looked thoughtfully out of the win
Nothing," replied Peggy Wal-dow by which she sat. Directly lace, mournfully.
she spoke again. "Ah, well! I will see what I 66 Thee can cook?" she asked.
“ Yes," said Peggy eagerly, "I agreed. "And now, good-bye, my can cook.”
friend." "And wash ?”
“Good-bye, and God bless thee “ Yes, Elizabeth."
wherever thee goes," said Eliza“And thee can iron, I know. beth. But think thee that thee is strong Then Peggy Wallace went home. enough to do the drudgery of maid. She was very busy the remainder of-all-work at a farm ?
of the evening, getting ready to go “I will do my best,” replied with Mrs. Holmes at any time. Peggy, with a little sinking of her There were her clothes to be arstout heart.
ranged and packed, the housekeep" Well, if thee does thy best, ing to be transferred from her people ought to expect no more; hands to her sister's, various injuncbut the place I have in my mind tions to be given, and plans to be is a hard place. A hard place," formed- not much in themselves, Elizabeth repeated slowly. “The but Peggy, Cecile, and Mrs. WalHolmeses are but common country lace, were all excitement at the folk, and thee will have a great deal prospect of the former leaving to do for little pay; maybe, though, home. thee can make out to stay until a They had kept together as long better place opens for thee." as possible ; but at last poverty
“Oh yes," assented Peggy ; “I stared them in the face, and they am willing to do any kind of work; knew that one of them must seek and small wages are better than work outside of their own door.
Peggy,strong-willed and self-reliant, “I will get the place for thee, volunteered, and at once sought then," promised Elizabeth. ~ And help of Elizabeth Steele. now thee had better go. I would The next day Mrs. Holmes
came like to keep thee longer, but with her husband to market. Elizaneither of us have time to spend in beth secured the promised place for talking. I will see Betty Holmes Peggy, and the
farm-waggon to-morrow; and do thee be ready to stopped at the door for her on its go whenever she sends for thee.”
"I will, Elizabeth; and I thank Šhe kissed her mother and sister, thee for the aid thee is so kind as said i" Good-bye,” and climbing in, to promise me," answered Peggy, the waggon lumbered away towards speaking in the odd dialect. “Thee the Holmes's farm. has always been kind to me. May The sun was just sinking behind be, some time I can repay thee, ” the long line of western hills when she added, with a little sigh, and they came in sight of the place. tying th , string of her sun-bonnet. They drove into the barnyard amid
“Never do thee mind that,” said the cackling and fluttering of fowls. the other, smiling. “I look not The sheep-bells tinkled, the cattle for my eward here. My time is lowed and looked solemnly at Peggy my Master's, and I hope to spend out of their great patient eyes. my days working for Him. See And, withal, Peggy thought that that thee forget not His Word, and everything was very commonplace. let not thy feet stray into evil ways. Yet she had no right to be disapIf thee should want help or counsel pointed, for had not Elizabeth come to me; and come as often as. Steele told her that the Holmeses thee can, any way. I like thee and were but " common country folk”? thy ways, and like to have thee But, in spite of this, she could not with me at spare times."
deny a still lower sinking of her “I will come when I can,"Peggy young heart.
Supper was not ready, as she house, listening devoutly to the hoped it would be, for she was both sermon. No prayer found her on tired and hungry.
unbended knees; and when the “We don't have supper till dark," congregation sang, her clear voice said Mrs. Holmes. '“ The farm- went soaring out in glad praise of hands are to feed, and they work the Redeemer. late. You may start up the fire She always felt better for those now, though. Liza, lend her one Sundays. They strengthened her of your long aprons.”
for the work of toil before her, unLiza brought a very long and broken by anything softer or tenvery coarse checked apron from a derer than thoughts and memories nail behind the door and handed it of her “home, sweet home.” She to Peggy.
took up her burden bravely week “You'll have to get supper,” she after week, murmuring not, and said, awkwardly. Peggy smiled saving up her scanty wages with cheerfully, tried on the apron, and, the joyful knowledge of how much after receiving instructions, set to they would bring to the waiting work with a will that impressed ones at home. her mistress favourably.
A holiday came at last. It was “If she'll only be that handy all while the long days slept peacefully the time," the latter commented to upon meadows and hill-tops. The Liza. “ But it soon wears off with harvest was past, and the fields 'em all. New brooms sweep clean.” lately golden with the swaying
But it did not wear off with wheat were bare and brown. The Peggy. Having put her hand to white and red roses had bloomed the plough, she would not turn and died, and the stately lilies no back. She knew what was ex- longer shook their dusky gold pected of her, and resolved to please over river and lake." if possible. She worked steadily The market-waggon stood again and surely to gain the end, and in the barn-yard, but the horses' steadily and surely she gained heads were turned toward the great favour with her employers. gate that swung slowly back, and “She is really handy,” praised the Peggy was
going home.” mistress, after a week's trial.
6 Home !" Her heart outran “She don't get out of humour, the slow-going team, and before either,” added Liza.
the woodbine-shaded door came in And one after another bore tes- sight she knew two pair of eyes timony as to her cleverness and were anxiously watching for her. good behaviour.
Elizabeth Steele's home stood by No one could bake bread like the wayside, and Elizabeth herself Peggy. The loaves always came was at the window motioning the out of the oven light, white, and farmer to stop. Directly she was sweet. No whiter washing was at the side of the waggon. hung out for miles around than at “I have good news for thee, Holmes's farm after the new girl Peggy,” she said, smiling. came; and no smoother clothes thee guess what it is ? ” could be found in any woman's Peggy could not guess, but her linen-closet than in Betty Holmes's. face was eager.
Peggy, modest and cleanly, kept “ Something very good, surely, her own garments neat and in good Elizabeth, or thee would not have repair. She remembered Eliza- stopped us to tell me." beth's admonition, and every Sab 6 And does thee think I do not bath found her regularly at her rejoice to see thee?” reproached place in the country meeting. Elizabeth. “Does thee think I
would not have stopped thee to “Not forgotten you,
Uncle shake hands? Aye, would I, Richard,” she replied, smiling; Peggy, for I am right glad to see only you have been away so long. thy face once more. But thee is I have not seen you since I was a impatient to hear the news. Well, child." I won't tell it thee. Wait till thee Mrs. Holmes declined an invita. gets home.”
tion to get down and rest, but She stepped back, laughing at wanted to know when Peggy would Peggy's disappointed face, and mo- be ready to return to her place. tioned Farmer Holmes to drive on. “Never,” Uncle Richard answerPeggy's good-humour came back as ed for her. “Marguerite goes with the wheels began to roll round. me to Willow-dale to-morrow."
" I'll remember thee for that, “ La !” cried the farmer's wife, Elizabeth,” she cried, shaking her in dismay. “ And are you the genhead merrily.
tleman that's bought WillowA few minutes more and they dale ?" were in front of Peggy's own home. "Yes," said Mr. Wallace; and She sprang out, embraced her Cecile added, "We're all going to mother and sister, and turned to live there with Uncle Dick.” be introduced to a kindly-faced, So ended the summer for Peggy white-haired man.
the servant-girl, and Marguerite “Uncle Richard,” said Cecile, began a bright and happy life at proudly.
Willow-dale. “ Uncle Richard !” exclaimed And Elizabeth Steele smiles and Peggy.
says : “ The Lord knew thee was She proffered her sun-browned doing thee best in an humble posihand shyly, but the old man drew tion, child, so He gives thee this her to him, saying softly, “Mar- that thee may work yet more guerite, my little Marguerite, I good. Truly, the last shall be believe you have forgotten me." first !!"
VISIONS AND VOICES FROM THE HOUSE OF
BY THE REV. R. H. ROBERTS, B.A. " Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage."
Psa. cxix. 54. THREE main reflections seem to me to have taken hold of the Psalmist's mind, and to be running through this inspired poem. First and foremost stands out the glory of the Word, which is the central theme of his celebration, and the stimulating source of his poetic fervour, “ More to be desired than gold ; yea, than much fine gold.” Then, begotten of this, there glows upon us a sense of present and joyous blessedness. His “heart is overflowing with a good matter." The Word, which is “ more to be desired than gold,” is “sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” And yet, side by side with this in some respects its strange contrast, and in others its necessary