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with remorse ;-we call it by soft names, as care, solicitude, perplexity, but it is generally a slight remorse,-so weak as not to force its true character upon your notice, but yet strong enough to destroy peace of mind. A great deal of what is called depression of spirits arises from this source. There are duties which you do not faithfully discharge, or inclinations which you habitually indulge, which you know ought to be denied. Conscience keeps up, therefore, a continual murmur, but she murmurs so gently that you do not recognise her voice, and yet it destroys your rest. You feel restless and unhappy, and wonder what can be the cause.

Let no one now say, or even suppose, that I think that all the depression of spirits which exists in human hearts, is nothing but a secret sense of conscious guilt. I know that there is real solicitude about the future, unconnected with remorse for the past;-and there is often a sinking of the spirits in disease, which moral remedies will not touch. These cases are, however, comparatively few. A far greater proportion of the restlessness and of the corroding cares of human hearts are produced, or at least very much exaggerated, by being connected with guilt.

I suppose some of my readers are going over these pages only for amusement. They will be interested, perhaps, in the illustrations, and if of mature or cultivated minds, in the point to which I am endeavouring to make them tend. I am afraid, however, that there are few who are reading really and honestly for the sake of moral improvement. To those few, however, I would now say: Do you never feel unquiet in spirit, restless or sad? Do you never experience a secret uneasiness of heart, of which you do not know the exact cause, but which destroys, or at least disturbs your peace? If you do, take this course. Instead of flying from those feelings when they come into your heart, advance boldly to meet them. Grasp and examine them. Find their cause. You will find, in nine instances out of ten, that their cause is something wrong in your own conduct or character. Young persons will generally find something wrong towards their parents. Now go and confess these faults. Do not endeavour to palliate or excuse them, but endeavour, on the other hand, to see their worst side; and if you confess them freely and fully, and resolve to sin no more, peace will return, at least so far as these causes have banished it from your heart.

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After I had written thus far, I read these pages to a gentleman who visited me, and he remarked that before I closed the chapter, I ought to caution my readers against acquiring the habit of doing wrong, and then coming carelessly to confess it, without any real sorrow, as though the acknowledgment atoned for the sin and wiped all the guilt away.

"I was once," said he, "visiting in a family, and while we were sitting at the fire, a little boy came in and did some wanton, wilful mischief."


Why, my child,” said the mother, " see what you have done. That was very wrong; but you are sorry for it, I suppose. Are you not?"

"Yes, Ma'," said the boy carelessly, running away at the same time to play.

"Yes," said the mother, "he is sorry. He does wrong sometimes, but then he is always sorry for it and acknowledges it. You are sorry now, are you not, my son?"

"Yes, Ma'," said the boy, as he ran capering about the room, striking the furniture and his little sister with his whip.

My friend thought there was some danger that this sort of confession might be made. And it is undoubtedly often made. But it does no good. Confession must come from the heart, or it will not relieve the heart.

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This anecdote shows the necessity of some punishment in all governments. If a father forgives the disobedience of his children simply upon their confessing it—I mean, if he makes this his settled and regular course-his children will soon disobey, expecting to make peace by confession as a matter of course, and the confession will thus not only become an useless form, but will become the very lure which tempts them to sin. A teacher once made a rule, that if any irregularity occurred in any of the classes, the assistant who heard the class was to send the person to him. At first the pupils felt this very much. A scholar would come with tears in her eyes to acknowledge her fault, although it was perhaps only a very slight one. The teacher inflicted no

punishment, but asked them to be careful in future, and sent them away kindly. Soon, however, they began to feel less penitent when they had done wrong. They came more and more as a matter of form, until at last they would come and state their fault as carelessly as if they were merely giving their teacher a piece of indifferent information. No; con

fession must never be understood as making any atonement for sin. Whenever you acknowledge that you have done wrong, do it with sincere penitence, and with a spirit, which would lead you to make all the reparation in your power, if it is a case which admits of reparation; to submit to the just punishment, if any is inflicted; and always to resolve most firmly that you will sin no more.

Let all my readers, then, whether old or young, look at once around them, and seek diligently for every thing wrong which they have done towards their fellows, and try the experiment of acknowledging the wrong in every case, that they may see how much such a course will bring peace and happiness to their hearts. When, however, I say that every thing wrong ought to be acknowledged, I do not mean that it is, in every case, necessary to make a formal confession in language. Acknowledgments may be made by actions as distinctly and as cordially as by words. An example will best illustrate this.

A journeyman in a carpenter's shop borrowed a plane of his comrade, and in giving it back to him, they dropped it and dulled it. The lender maintained that the borrower ought to sharpen it, while the borrower said that it was not his fault, and an angry controversy arose between them. It would have taken but a few minutes to have sharpened the instrument, but after having once contended about it, each was determined not to yield. The plane was laid down in its damaged state, each declaring that he would not sharpen it..

The borrower, however, did not feel easy, and as he lay down that night to rest, the thought of his foolish contention made him unhappy. He reflected, too, that since his friend had been willing to lend him his instrument, he ought to have borne himself all the risk of its return. He regretted that he refused to do what now, on cool reflection, he saw was clearly his duty.

On the following morning, therefore, he went half an hour earlier than usual to the shop, and while alone there, with the help of grindstone and hone, he put the unfortunate plane into the best possible order, laid it in its proper place, and when his companion came in he said to him pleasantly, "I wish you would try your plane, and see how it cuts this morning."

Now was not this a most full and complete acknowledgment of having been wrong? And yet there is not a syllable of confession in language. Any way, by which you can openly manifest your conviction that you have been wrong, and your determination to do so no more, is sufficient. The mode best for the purpose will vary with circumstances. Sometimes by words, sometimes by writing, and sometimes by action. The only thing that is essential is, that the heart should feel what in these various ways it attempts to express.

I doubt not now but that many of my readers who have taken up this book with a desire to find religious instruction in it, have been for some time wishing to have me come to the subject of the confession of sin to God. You feel that the greatest of all your transgressions have been against Him; and you can have no true peace of mind again, until He has forgiven you. I have no doubt that this is the state of mind of very many of those who will read this chapter. But confession of sin is the same in its nature and tendency when made to God as when made to your fellow-man. When you have finished this chapter, then shut the book, and go alone before your Maker, and acknowledge all your sins. Acknowledge them frankly and fully, and try to see and feel the worst, not by merely calling your offences by harsh names, but by calmly looking at the aggravating circumstances. While you do this, do not spend your strength in trying to feel strong emotion. You cannot feel emotion by merely trying to do so. There is no need of any terror, -no need of agony of body or of mind,-no need of gloom of countenance or anxiety of heart. Just go and sincerely acknowledge your sins to God, and ask him to forgive you through Jesus Christ, and he will.

But perhaps some one of you may say, "I am surprised to hear you say that there is no need of strong agitation of mind, before we can be forgiven for sin. I am sure that there often is very strong feeling of this kind. There is terror, and agony of mind, and afterwards the individual becomes a sincere Christian."

It is true, there is sometimes strong and continued agitation, but it is only because those that suffer it are unwilling to yield to God and confess their sins to him. As soon as this unwillingness is gone, and they come to their God and

Saviour with all their hearts, the mental suffering vanishes. I said, that if you were willing now to confess your sins to God with sincere penitence, you may at once be happy. Of course, if you are unwilling-if you see that you are sinning against him, and will not come and make peace,you then have indeed cause to tremble.

There is a great mistake prevalent on this subject, especially among the young, though the subject is often clearly enough explained, both from the press and the pulpit. God's command is, repent at once, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall have peace. I have in this chapter used the word confess, instead of repent, for sincere confession is only a manifestation of penitence. Now I do not find that the Bible requires any thing previous to repentance. It does not say that we must be miserable a week or a day, or an hour. I never heard any minister urge upon his hearers the duty of suffering anguish of mind, and all the horrors of remorse, a single moment in order to prepare the soul for Christ. It is doubtless true, that persons do often thus suffer, and are perhaps led by it in the end to fly to the refuge. But they' ought to have fled to the refuge without this suffering, in the beginning. The truth is, that God commands men everywhere to repent. It is a notorious fact, that they will not comply. When the duty of humbly confessing their sins to God is clearly brought before them, there is often so great a desire to continue in sin, that a very painful struggle continues for some time. Now this struggle is all our own fault, it is something that we add, altogether;-God does not require it. He says, come to me at once. Ministers in the pulpit do not urge it; so far from desiring it are they, that they always urge their hearers to come at once to the Saviour and be happy,-and when any of their hearers are suffering in consequence of their indecision, the pastor, so far from wishing them to continue in this state as a part of their duty, urges them with all his power to terminate it at once, by giving up their hearts to God and to happiness. And yet so reluctant are men to give up their hearts to God, and so exceedingly common is this guilty struggle, that by the young it is often considered as a painful part of duty. They think they cannot become Christians without it. Some try to awaken it and continue it, and are sad because they cannot succeed. Others are serving their

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