MORAL COWARDICE. BY I . L. MOCATTA.

Gen. xix, 19, " O/i, not so, my Lord, I CA lest some evil befal me.""

OT escape to the mountain

HAD LOT'S trust in the Lord been firm, these words would certainly never have been uttered by him, but he would unhesitatingly have followed the injunction of that protecting angel who had been sent for the express purpose of rescuing him from, the impending catastrophe. Lot's character, however, was full of blemishes ; his past conduct had been most faulty, and the concluding scriptural passages in reference to him plainly prove that, although by the favour of the Supreme he was afforded ample opportunity for retrieving his former errors, he in no way availed himself of it. Indeed, his every act on and after quitting Sodom demonstrates his vacillating disposition, his intense selfishness, his want of moral courage and want of faith. Firstly, we find that although urged by the angel to quit the devoted city with all expedition, he yet lingered, so that it became necessary for the messenger of God to lay hold on his hand to bring him forth, and, when without the city, to bid him " escape for his life and flee to the mountain lest he be consumed". But he again demurred, allowing his judgment, or rather his wishes, to stand in the place of the wise counsel of that guardian angel, whose object, as he should well have known, was not only to rescue him from impending destruction, but also to point out the surest and best place of refuge. Had faith been uppermost in the mind of Lot, he would not, he could not, have entertained any criminal fears or apprehended any danger. But his heart was with the treasures he had been forced to leave behind him,

MORAL COWARDICE. 127 and it is more than probable that he hoped to recover them by abiding near the spot. Such a consideration with so selfish a man would be quite powerful enough to induce him to run counter to the commands of the angel, and account for his seeking permission to fix his residence in the small city that was near by on the plains. Yet even after his unadvised petition was granted he still lingered, and had to be once more urged forward by the angel, who again repeated, "Haste thee, escape thither". But having once arrived at the city which he had been the means of saving from destruction, it was to be supposed he might have settled himself there and given his individual exertions towards promoting the knowledge of the true God among the inhabitants. And assuredly, had he been so disposed, this was an opportune moment. He could have called their attention to That power the magnitude of which had been signally displayed in the overthrow of the neighbouring towns, also have pointed out their own wonderful escape, and thence sought to instil both the love and fear of God in their hearts. Far different, however, was his conduct, for the next and last data we have relative to his movements* proves that he shortly after abandoned the city which he had himself chosen for his residence, and retired unbidden to that very spot which had before inspired him with so much alarm, and of which he had spoken to the angel in these words, " I cannot go thither lest I die". Whence this sudden change of views, Scripture fails to enlighten us. Suffice, it evinces a fickle, vacillating disposition, while a high degree of moral cowardice is indicated by the fact of his not quieting all vague fears and implicitly following the injunction of his heavenly adviser to proceed direct from Sodom to the mountains. Surely, his residence in Zoar once sanctioned by the heavenly guide vouchsafed him, Lot should have been content to abide there, though some discomforts, or even trials, might have attended him in his new abode. Sensible that * Gen. xix, 30.

128 MORAL COWARDICE. an All-Gracious Being had watched over and saved him in time of danger, he should assuredly have reposed his trust in that same Benign Protector, have dismissed all apprehension, become reconciled to his new life and position, and endeavoured to make it subserve some purpose which might testify his gratitude to his Heavenly Father. But to these considerations he showed not the slightest regard. The boon for which he had so recently and successfully petitioned became valueless in his eyes, since it did not enable him to recover his lost wealth; thence doubtless his change of pui'pose and wilful departure with his daughters from the city which the angel had appointed for their future residence. How entirely, how sadly, was such conduct at variance with his duty to the Supreme. When he might well have feared resorting to the mountain, since it was no longer at God's bidding, but rather in contravention of it, he had no fear ; he was bold when there was ample cause to be timid, while he lacked moral courage and faith when safe in the guidance of an All- Wise Disposing Hand. ow though this gross and almost criminal perversity brought its natural evil consequences, and misfortunes fell thick upon him, they yet failed to move him to serious thought. Had he but asked himself conscientiously why so merciful a Heavenly Father suffered them to befal him, he must surely have discovered how faulty had been the tenor of his life. But he regarded them not as monitors, their teachings served not to change his mind or disposition, thence ensued his last overt act of disobedience, which still further tended to embitter his declining years. ow, had Lot's past life been useful to his fellow-mortals and pleasing to his God, he might have found some solace even in the lonely cave wherein he afterwards took refuge, but as it was, if ever his mind reverted to bygone years, his reflections must have been attended with compunction of

conscience and disquietude. He had been undutiful and un-

MOKAL COWARDICE. 129 generous to his uncle, his benefactor, and now was without even onefriend; knowing the Lord, and having received especial mercies from above, yet had he not been " valiant for the truth -upon earth," like that instructor of his youth, the virtuous Abraham ; he had not influenced his wife and children for good in such a manner as to save them from the punishments consequent on wilful disobedience, nor had he brought even one soul nearer to God, while the muchcoveted wealth, for which he had so toiled, incurred so many disappointments, and sacrificed so much, was gone beyond recall. Whatsoever may have been the hopes and aspirations of his youth, none had been realised ; the past afforded no pleasui-able point on which the mind might dwell, it offered no solace for his old age ; the future was a blank, or worse ; barren for good had been his life, pitiful and sorrowful was its termination. ow, it can scarcely be doubted that had Lot, instead of proceeding to the mountain from Zoar, repaired to the abode of his warm, large-hearted uncle, and, humbly penitent, implored pardon for past ingratitude, he would not only have been welcomed, but urged to stay and partake of those rich blessings which the pious patriarch never lacked. Surely, if Lot's heart had been in the right place, if his disposition had been sufficiently noble to appreciate fully the loving and forgiving nature of Abraham, he would have confidently sought that abode which for long years had been his home. His thoughts must have turned thither when weighed down by calamities ; and when he sadly reflected on his late family bereavement, he cannot have failed to recall to memory his more than father, his instructor and protector. Yet even his misery, which must have stood out in strong and painful relief when contrasted with the happy home of the virtuous Abraham, sufficed not to touch his heart. The same moral

cowardice and almost sinful misgivings which caused him to declare to the angel, " I cannot escape to the mountain/' worked on him when he should have gladly appreciated the

130 MORAL COWARDICE. forgiving spirit and loving-kindness of the great patriarch, and thrown himself into those arms which from his youth upwards had been open to receive him. Surely solicitude for the welfare of his daughters might alone have prompted him to seek that land where the knowledge of the true God was fast superseding idolatry, and that roof where no harm was likely to befal them. But the course Lot pursued was in complete accordance with his senseless and heartless conduct throughout life. Wanting in faith to his God, he drew back from following the spoken injunction of His angel ; lacking in love to his fellow-citizens, he strove not to promote the welfare of the people of Zoar, but even departed hastily from their city ; oblivious of the noble and generous conduct of his benefactor and guardian, he evinced none of the tender emotions of gratitude, nor felt that filial affection which was due to one who had been to him as the best of fathers. Faith, love, and gratitude were altogether dormant sentiments in his breast, and, never having been exercised, could not be called into vigorous action when they would have proved of infinite benefit to himself. Lot's life was indeed a blank, for it had been totally unproductive of good, and its close a blight, withering not only the parent stem, but even the tender plants that had blossomed at its side ! Truly Lot chose an appropriate dwellingplace; he who had never sought a friend, encouraged a neighbour, or shown any marked sympathy for his species, was in old age isolated in a land bare of inhabitants, dwelling within a cave, frigid and narrow as his own heart. Scripture there leaves him, nor offers further comment on his life, and its very silence speaks more emphatically to the reflective mind than any words.

But the full moral to be drawn from Lot's life may be further developed by comparing what he did with what he should have done. It is easy to conceive that the passing events were in every way calculated to impress him with God's Omnipotence and his own weakness ; wherefore, it

MORAL COWAKDICE. 131 might be supposed, he would rather have listened and acted up to the will of the Supreme, than sought to follow his own wayward inclinations. Had such been his frame of mind, he would have repaired to the mountain in entire trust, and there upraised an altar to the Great God who had so signally and mercifully delivered him. This pious act would certainly have inspired him with that moral courage he so essentially needed ; and, further, it would have brought back a vivid recollection of those youthful days, when, at the side of the God-loving Abraham, he must often have bowed down and worshipped. His heart once powerfully moved towards God and his uncle, conscience could no longer have slumbered, but would have prompted him to redeem the past. His very seclusion must have conduced to holy thought, and when from his lofty eminence he looked down upon the desolate and barren spots where the two guilty cities once stood a fearful proof of the just retribution which had fallen on the sinful inhabitants he must perforce have been led to contrast that dark scene of human crime and human woe, with the tranquil land, full of bright reminiscences, where dwelt the pious Abraham. Then, also, the hope of improving the friendless position of his daughters ; the desire of leading in the future a more useful life than was possible in his barren retreat, with other similarly laudable feelings, would have urged him to action, and confident in the approbation of the most High, he would have proceeded to settle amidst the scenes of his youth, and seek his almost only remaining relative, resolutely intent on regaining the affection which he had done so much to forfeit. By thus pursuing the path of duty, much happiness

might yet have cheered his declining years, while his sun would have set with but few clouds instead of in utter darkness. ow, it is to be observed, that the fact of Scripture halting abruptly in the sketch of a life, has, in most instances, been significant of Divine displeasure, and Lot's case can K2

132 MORAL COWARDICE. hardly form an exception to the rule. That no record even of his death or burial-place is left, too surely indicates that his conduct had been such as to render him unworthy of further notice. Miserably sad must have been the closing years of his life, and greatly embittered by the reflection that he had forfeited through his own wilful conduct all further heavenly interposition. Here, indeed, was the culminating point of his misfortune ; as here, also, he touched the lowest point of moral degradation. The whole history of Lot offers ample matter for reflection. We find that the two besetting sins of selfish ambition and moral cowardice warped him from the path of duty, and that an inglorious life was followed by an abject end. Attaching no special importance to the duties he owed God and his fellow men, Lot too often passed them by, saying, " I cannot", and thus frequently became guilty of the sin of omission. Severe was the penalty he paid for this grave and life-long offence, so severe, indeed, that Scripture, after giving but one clue to its extent, draws the curtain upon it. Thus, while resolutely resisting all sins of commission, let the sad history of Lot induce us to proceed one step further, nor suffer the sin of omission to imperil our future happiness. Then shall we be ever ready to answer duty's

call with the words of fair promise : I can I will.* * Although, at an early period of his life, Lot exposed himself of his own free-will to the contaminating influence of idolatry, yet he is not supposed to have followed its baneful practices to any extent, and, notwithstanding that he was selfish, covetous, and disregardful of the due performance of the higher duties of life, he may have occasionally shown himself not altogether devoid of some of those finer qualities which had doubtless been instilled into his youthful mind by his noble preceptor Abraham, and thus in some measure been a fit object for God's especial favour. But, after attentively perusing his entire history, and especially the 29th verse, chap, xix of Gen., where we read " And when God destroyed the cities in which Lot dwelt, He remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow", we

MORAL COWARDICE. 133 " I cannot" is the language of moral infirmity, and is the ever ready response of the indifferent, the pusillanimous, and the indolent, when called on for exertion in the cause of duty or of honour. Occasionally, however, it is also the language of the true hero ; the man of moral courage, who wavers not when temptation assails, but resolutely adheres to the code of morality and religion, exclaiming, as did Joseph, " I cannot do this thing, and sin against God". Thus used, what noble words are these ! how they exalt the utterer ! it were as if he said I may not, I must not, I will not. What fixity of purpose do they betoken, how significant are they of high moral resolve ! Like sentinels they stand to watch and warn away all such unwary and seductive thoughts as war upon the moral sense of right, and warp man from the path of rectitude. He who treasures these words within his breast will rarely swerve from the straight line marked out by virtue and piety, for they have within themselves that magic power which holds the upright steadily to his course. It is far, far otherwise, however, when the words " I can-

not" are dropped by the faint-hearted^ or by those who have but small regard for moral duty, since they then too surely betray a coward spirit, and prove the man who can, who dare utter them, to be the mere slave of circumstances. Free agency, which is mortals' highest prerogative, will be to him futile for good. Hope, man's greatest strength, and, when embodied into action, the very salt of life, will fail him in his need. Wishes and desires will sport before him, but seldom or never meet their realisation, because unsupmay surely arrive at the conclusion, that the preservation of Lot's life was due in a far greater degree to the virtue of the uncle than to any merit he himself possessed. The moral of his life points in the same direction. He was less criminal than the idolaters, and therefore escaped their fearful punishment, but his conduct had been highly culpable, if not criminal, and thus he had to pay the forfeit in a life of gloom, of penance, and remorse.

134 MORAL COWARDICE. ported by that personal exertion to which success is mostly due. His existence will be but as a vain show, and his life almost a blank, since devoid of those good and pious works which alone can give it value. ow when we examine into the cause of this desponding and paralysing exclamation, which so frequently stands between life and its moral obligations, we find that it is to be attributed in a great measure to the clashing of duty with inclination, for only when the heart prompts does the hand readily execute. There can be little doubt that it is far more frequently the want of will than the want of power which stays man in the work of progress. He who pursues his duties with the same keen zest with which he follows the chase after the goods of earth may erase from his vocabulary the words " I cannot", for all difficulties will become light to him, all obstacles be but stepping-stones to his success. Another cause is the want of fixed princi-

ples, of a just and well-defined sense of what is right or wrong. ow, without the mind is impressed with moral truth, and has arrived at settled convictions through its own ratiocinations, there can be no steadiness of purpose, doubt ever leaving a numbing indecision, which will assuredly impede, if not arrest, any bold or resolute course of action. To secure constancy in our efforts, we must steadily fix our gaze upon some point of duty, some definite object full of good promise, continuously directing our steps thereto. He who thus acts will feel the rapid growth within him of that courage and firmness which are the high prerogatives of the right doer, and in the very consciousness of his strength he will gain full vigour to achieve. Lastly, among the other causes of giant power, which hold men in subjection, and strike at the very root of individual progress as well as moral vigour, are selfish indifference, idleness, diffidence, and vice. Just in proportion as they obtain ascendency, so does man's liberty become curtailed. Dereliction of duty is the sure concomitant of each ; they stand as a barrier be-

MORAL COWARDICE. 135 tween man's power for good and its execution. Well would it be if fears and doubts could be aroused in the breast of the indifferent, and be made to alternate with hope ; for where there is apathy there can be no advance towards virtue. If the heart warm for others as for self, then all is well. It would not be less serviceable to the idler, who is ever apt to flatter himself that he will gain the end without using the means, and who, by seeking perpetual excuses for doing nothing, numbs those energies which, if developed, might be turned to a good and useful account. Then the diffident or unstable, who have no faith in themselves or others, but are ever wavering, swayed to and fro as fear or hope takes possession of their mind, though acutely feeling they must stand or fall by their own actions, need not have a conscience always quivering if they but do their best and leave the rest to heaven. And, as to the debauchee,

seductive passions alone have power to sway his effeminate mind. He " cannot", because he will not, resist the allurements of sense, or curb his unruly desires, but allows each fresh indulgence to whet his appetite for further gratifications. The vicious man never thinks of wrestling with the foe or fighting the good fight ; devoid of all self-control, he is a very slave to each new temptation. Content to hold communion with sin, he permits himself to be dragged ignobly down without a struggle, and in his course becomes a curse to himself and others. Once satisfied that these are the chief moving causes of that coward spirit which brings man to exclaim so readily " I cannot" ; it next behoves us to seek some panacea for this crying defect of character, and we at once find it in religion. This is, indeed, man's true support ; with it how strong is he, without it how weak ! Where the heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord, there can be no cowardly fear, virtue will be regarded as the supreme good, and hence followed with an earnestness and intensity of purpose which, while it must prosper our undertakings, will assuredly gain

136 MORAL COWARDICE. heaven's approval. Resolution, which is the touchstone of success, like an angel will lead us ever onward. Failure will not discourage, for trusting and hoping we shall try again ; while each triumph will serve as an earnest for the future. If man would but labour in his true vocation as strenuously as if he were the sole arbiter of his fortune, and at the same time, confidently believing in God's high superintending Providence, rely in implicit faith on that arm of strength, great must be his progress. Of nothing may we be more certain than that though man be weak God is strong, and that the All-Gracious hearkens to our prayers, and will surely help us if we will but help ourselves. Thus let us advance devoutly, hopefully, and in entire confidence in the AllWise, speeding onwards through life in a course of useful-

ness and virtue. ow we may feel assured that it is little less than sinful in any individual to allow those mental and physical powers with which he has been blessed to remain stagnant. It behoves all of us to test them and give them full scope after having arrived at a just estimate of their extent. Whilst they are suffered to slumber they can be of no avail, but judiciously exercised are all potent for good to ourselves and others. It is certain we may ever find something to perform for the glory of God and the general benefit, while we should not only embrace opportunities but even seek to create them, and so kindle a zest for useful action. While we are yet in time, let us be up and doing ; there is a future before us when we must rest in the tranquil grave. All moral turpitude will be quickly cast aside when we have brought ourselves to believe in our powers for good ; and these will acquire vigour just in proportion as we trust in them. Truly it is faith in our strength which lends us strength. Due weight should also be attached to the reflection that though we fail, we are never beaten unless we give up ; determination will almost invariably gain the point it aims at, for hope is no flatterer to the resolute. The virtuous and

MORAL COWARDICE. 137 pious man, ever truly in earnest, invariably finds means to accomplish the task he has assigned himself. With him difficulties are not impossibilities, he overrides them through his indomitable will, and thus in the end must achieve great things. He has learnt to make life's journey thoughtfully but resolutely ; religion, ever offering a strong incentive to duty, wins him to his life's task and lends him the vigour necessary to its fulfilment. Truly, the man thus nerved will never suffer to escape him the desponding exclamation " I cannot"; but he will be true to duty, and as firm as true.

The timorous, the slothful, the irresolute who "see a lion in their path" whenever duty calls on them for action, may reflect with advantage on the following PRECEPTS. In Eccles. ix, 10, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest." If they will further couple this with Prov. iii, 5, " Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and in all thy ways acknowledge Him for He will direct thy path", and holding this glorious promise in remembrance, ever strenuously seek to derive therefrom that vital support it is so well calculated to afford, then may they hope to throw off all moral turpitude, and make progressive advances towards that goal to which conscience and duty point. At Judges viii, 21, we read, " As the man is, so is his strength"; and truly the virtuous and religious man will have no real apprehension ; he will exclaim in the words of the Psalmist, Ps. cxviii, 6, " The Lord is on my side, I will not fear ; what can man do unto me ?" He will cast from him all doubts and misgivings as he recalls and ponders over the following gracious promises, Isaiah xl, 29, "God giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength". Then in Joshua, "Turn not to the right hand or to the left, observe to do according to the law, for then shalt thou be strong and very courageous". Again in

138 MORAL COWARDICE. Job xi, 13, "If thou prepare thine heart and stretch out thine hand towards God and put iniquity far from thee, then thou shalt be steadfast and shall not fear"; and at ch. xvii, 9, " The righteous shall hold on his way and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger". Then in Ps. cxii, ' ' The good man shall not be moved for ever ; he shall not be afraid of evil tidings ; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord". Truly, we shall ever find verified that which we read in Prov. xxviii, 1, "The righteous are bold as a lion, while the wicked flee when no man pursues". The former

never say "I cannot", but seek through prayer for strength at the Fount of all strength ; the latter, however, are constantly "in great fear where no fear is", since they dare not solicit God's countenance or His Almighty protection. ow, strange as it may seem, it is nevertheless true that men of this coward spirit will yet confront and follow without dread their bitterest foe, the sinner who would entice them, nor even tremble as they walk the downward path of vice. It is such men who, in the words of Jeremiah, " are not valiant for the truth upon earth, for they proceed from evil to evil and provoke God to anger". But the time will surely come when they shall feel the dire consequences of their sin and folly, or as set forth in Deuteronomy, "The Lord will give them a trembling heart; life shall hang in doubt, and fear shall possess them night and day". Then let the diffident and the vicious alike hearken to and heed the following exhortation of Azariah, given in n Chronicles xv, " Hear ye me, the Lord is with us while ye be with Him ; and if ye seek Him He will be found of you. Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded". Thus spoke the man on whom fell the spirit of God, and verily they are words well calculated to arouse that moral courage which will enable us successfully to resist temptation, triumph over many difficulties and urge us onward in the true path of piety and virtue. Scripture presents numerous EXAMPLES of individuals who,

DISOBEDIE T PROPHET HEZEKIAH. 139 in their daily routine of life, or on especially important occasions have failed in their calling through moral cowardice, bringing misfortunes on themselves and others ; while it abounds in characteristic sketches of men. whose moral courage, nerved by Holy trust and a strong sense of rightdoing, stood proof to every assault from whatever quarter or in whatever guise it came. Among the former we may class the DISOBEDIE T PBOPHET (i Kings), who, being bidden by

God Himself not " to go back nor eat bread or drink water", at first refused to hearken to one who urged his hospitality upon him, rejecting the proposal in these words, "I may not return with thee"; and yet, on being further solicited, his resolution gave way, and he acceded to the request. Desire gained ascendency over obedience, and he gave ear to the voice of the tempter ! Where then were the words, " I cannot, I may not disregard the expressed will of the Supreme", which would have been so opportune at that juncture ! They were wanting, for he was wanting in strength of purpose and that fixedness of resolve which religion and faith alone can give. He transgressed the command of the Lord, and severe was the penalty, for great had been the offence. Passing from this defective character, we turn to one pleasingly dissimilar, the great and good King HEZEKIAH, who ascended the throne at the early age of twenty-five. This excellent monarch, keenly desirous of withdrawing his people from their idolatrous practices and recalling them to a just sense of their religion and its sublime precepts, had had ample cause to be discouraged with the prospect before him. Yet he never faltered, he never tired, or as we read, " And in every work that he begun in the service of the house of God, and in the law and in the commandments to seek his God, he did it with all his heart and prospered".* Though he had to contend with a froward and perverse people he nevertheless conquered, and triumphed through fixedness of purpose. Yet this was not all ; when about to be * ii Chron. xxxi, 21.

140 MORAL COWARDICE. attacked by Sennacherib, King of Assyria, "he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, raised up another without, and repaired Millo"; in a word, he acted with such vigour and resolution that he saved his country from the ravages of the army of that powerful monarch. He then undertook works calculated greatly to improve his country, and never, even under adverse circumstances, did

he relinquish his well-devised schemes and generous purposes. The result was that at the time of his decease the people had become far more powerful and respected ; they were also wealthier, happier, and better than in previous reigns. Well, indeed, would it have been had the benefits thus conferred proved lasting, instead of being speedily annulled by the wicked son who succeeded him ; nevertheless, he had persistently done his duty, had secured the especial favour of heaven, and bore with him to his eternal home the love, respect, and gratitude of his people, for we read, " And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death".* Thus his wise and vigorous conduct redounded to his honour, and met with its just reward. We next draw attention to Jacob's last prophetic blessing to his children, since it will serve further to elucidate this subject. He had studied and read each of their characters, and from their past life divined their future. This remark more especially applies to REUBE and JOSEPH, who stand out in bold relief as peculiarly opposed to each other in regard to energy of disposition. To the former Jacob spoke thus, " Thou art my first born ; unstable as water, thou wilt not excel." It was this unsteadiness of purpose, a distinguishing trait in his past life, which often caused Reuben to veer from the straight line of duty, and even on one occasion led him to sin grievously against his parent. Jacob, rather in sorrow than in anger, therefore pointed * ii Citron, xxxii, 33.

REUBE JOSEPH. 141 out how he had erred through weak-mindedness ; and iii all the impressiveness of a dying address, showed him that he might never hope to excel without he should determinately pursue the path of virtue, sedulously avoiding every deviation therefrom. But how different were his words to

Joseph, who had stood proof to temptation, who had been ever earnest and resolute for good, loving to his father, serviceable to his adopted country, and faithful to his God. Partly in a retrospective and partly in a prophetic vein, Jacob exclaimed, " The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him, but his bow abode in strength and his hands were made strong by the Hands of the mighty God ; even by the Almighty, who will help and shall bless thee with blessings". How opposite must have been the feelings of the two brothers when they heard the last utterances of their departing parent ; the elder must surely have cowed before his gentle reprimand, the younger gloried in having rendered himself deserving of the loving accents which, like heavenly incense, fell from the lips of his deeply-loved and revered sire. Free to choose, let us take example from Joseph, and warning from Reuben ; let us be courageous and earnest in good, never drifting into evil through unsteadiness of purpose, but be ever firm as strong, whereby we may secure the approval of our conscience, and attain those blessings which kind Heaven has decreed shall attend on a consistent and virtuous line of conduct.

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