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The benevolent teacher.

The teacher imagined a scholar.

mind, and after the forbidden act, which occupied but an instant, is done, he immediately awakes to the consciousness of having disobeyed, and looks up just in time to see the stern eye of his teacher upon him speaking most distinctly of displeasure and of punishment. Now if any severe punishment should follow such a transgression, how disproportionate would it be to the guilt! The boy may indeed have done wrong,—but how slight must the wrong be in the view of any one, who could look into the heart, and estimate truly its moral movements in such a case! It is unquestionably true, and every wise teacher is fully aware of it, that in school discipline there is constant danger that the teacher will estimate erroneously the moral character of the actions he witnesses, just because he has forgotten the feelings of childhood. He cannot appreciate its temptations or understand its difficulties, and many a little strug gler with the inclinations which would draw him from duty, is chilled and discouraged in his efforts, because the teacher never knows that he is making an effort to do his duty, or at least never understands the difficulties and trials which he finds in his way.

Suppose now that such a teacher should say to himself, and suppose he could by some magic power carry the plan into effect," I will become a little child myself, and go to school. I will take these same lessons which I assign, and endeavor to keep, myself, the rules which I have been endeavoring to enforce. I will spend two or three weeks in this way, that I may learn by actual experience what the difficulties and temptations and trials of childhood are." Suppose he could carry this plan into effect, and laying aside his accumulated knowledge and that strength of moral principle which long habit had formed, should assume the youth and the spirits and all the feelings of childhood, and should take his place in some neighboring school, unknown to his new companions, to partake with them in all their trials and temptations. He toils upon a perplexing lesson, that he may know by experience what the perplexi

Sympathy of Christ.


ty of childhood is; he obeys the strictest rules, that he may understand the difficulty of obedience; and he exposes himself to the unkindness or oppression of the vicious boys, that he may learn how hard it is patiently to endure them. After fully making the experiment, he resumes his former character and returns to his station of authority. Now if this were done, how cordially, how much better can he afterward sympathize with his pupils in their trials, and with what confidence can they come to him in all their


Now we have such a Savior as this. The Word was made flesh, i. e. became man and dwelt among us. He took not on him the nature of angels, but the nature of man. "Wherefore it behoved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest." "We have not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are."

My reader will doubtless observe that this case is somewhat similar to that of Howard, which I imagined in the former part of this chapter; and perhaps you may imagine that if my paragraphs had been well arranged, this supposition would have come in connection with that. But no. I was then upon the subject of sympathy with suffering. I imagined Howard to become a prisoner, that he might understand and sympathize with the sufferings of prisoners. Now I am speaking of the subject of temptation and struggle against sin, and I imagine the teacher to become a child, that he may appreciate the trials and temptations of childhood.

We may trust in the sympathy of our Savior in this last respect as well as in the other. His disposition to feel compassion and sympathy, and not indignation, in regard to those who had brought themselves into difficulty by doing wrong, was very often manifested while he was upon the earth, and we may be sure his character is not in this espect altered now.

The benevolent gentleman.

Sympathy of Christ.

But it is time that I should bring this chapter to a close. The sum and substance of what I have been endeavoring to illustrate in it is this: If you confess all your sins and seek their forgiveness in the way in which the Gospel points out, and resolve henceforth to lead a life of piety, you will need a friend and helper. You will want sympathy, both in your sufferings and in your struggles with sin. Jesus Christ will sympathize with you and help you in both.

I once knew a reverend gentleman whose fortune rendered him independent, but whose medical knowledge and skill were of a very high order, and he practised constantly without fee or reward, for the simple purpose of relieving suffering. The only things necessary to secure his attention were to be sick, to need his aid, and to send for him. He did not wish his patients to become convalescent before he would visit them; nor did he inquire how often they had been sick before. There was one poor lad who took cold, I believe, by breaking through the ice in the winter, and he was rendered a helpless cripple for years, and yet this gentleman or some of his family visited him almost daily during all this time, and instead of getting tired of their patient, he became more and more interested in him to the last. Now our Redeemer is such a physician. He does not ask any preparation before we send for him; nor does he get tired of us because he has helped us back from our wanderings to duty and happiness a great many times. Some one asked him once, how often he ought to forgive his brother after repeated transgressions. "Shall I forgive him seven times?" was the question. "Forgive," said the Savior, "not only seven times, but seventy times seven." How strange it is, that after this a backsliding Christian can ever hesitate to come back at once after he has wandered, with an assurance that God will forgive.

He will not break the bruised reed. How beautiful and striking an illustration of our Redeemer's kindness to those who have sinned. A planter walks out into his grounds, and among the reeds growing there, there is one-young,

The bruised reed.


The absent son.

green and slender-which a rude blast has broken. Its verdant top is drenched in the waters which bathe its root; and perhaps he hesitates for a moment whether to tear it from the spot and throw it away. But no; he raises it to its place, carefully adjusts its bruised stem, and sustains it by a support, till it once more acquires its former strength and beauty. Now Jesus Christ is this planter. Every backsliding humbled Christian is a bruised reed; and O how many are now thriving and vigorous, that in the hour of humiliation have been saved by his tenderness.

Come then to this Friend, all of you. Bring all your interests and hopes and fears to him; he will sympathize in them all. And whenever you have wandered never hesi

tate a moment to return.



"Whatsoever ye shall ask in

my name, I will do it."

As I have on this subject many separate points to discuss, I shall arrange what I have to say under several distinct heads, that the view presented may be the better understood and remembered.

I. The power of prayer. This subject may be best illustrated by describing a case.

A kind and affectionate father, whose son had arrived at an age which rendered it necessary for him to prepare for the business of life, concluded to send him from home. Their mutual attachment was strong, and though each knew it was for the best, each looked upon the approaching separation with regret. The father felt solicitous for the future character and happiness of his boy, as he was now to go forth into new temptations and dangers; and the son was reluctant to leave the quiet and the happiness of his father's fireside for the bustle of business and the rough

The father's promises.

Its implied limitations.

Improper requests.

exposures of the crowded city, where he was for the future to find a home. The hour of separation, however, at last arrived, and the father says to him at parting,

"My son, be faithful, do your duty, and you will be happy. Remember your parents-the efforts they have made, and the affection they now feel for you. Watch against temptation, and shun it. I will supply all your wants. When you wish for any thing, write to me and you shall have it. And may God bless you, and keep you safe and happy."

My reader will observe that this language, which is not fiction, but fact, for it has in substance been addressed in a thousand instances under the circumstances above described, contains a promise to send the son whatever he shall ask for. But the meaning of it is not-and no boy would understand it to be-that every possible request which he might make would be certainly granted Although the promise is made in the few simple words, "whenever you want any thing, write to me and you shall have it,” yet the meaning expressed fully would be, "whenever you wish for any thing, which as far as you can see is proper for you, if you will let me know it I will send it, unless I see that it is better for you not to have it, or unless there are other special reasons which prevent my complying."

Now a boy may in such a case make a great many requests which the father might refuse without being considered by any one as breaking his promise.

1. He may ask something which the father knows would, in the end, injure him. Suppose he should request his father to supply him with double his usual quantity of pocket money, and the father should see clearly that the effect of granting the request would be to cultivate in him. careless and extravagant habits of expenditure, and to divert his attention from his business. In such a case the father would undoubtedly refuse, and no one would imagine that he was breaking his promise. The boy, if he had done right, would not have asked

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