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marry a companion from the ranks of the world, are disapointed and rendered miserable for life.
THE SPIRITS OF AUTUMN IN THE WILLOW.
BY REV. H. HARBAUGH.
Down by the stream, I heard the willow sigh in the twilight of an October evening. Now, upon its pendant branches, there was the quick blast of the cold wind, like a sharp rush of pain through the limbs of the afflicted. Now, there was a softer sigh; but still sad, like the moan of deep abiding sorrow.
The waving of its long branches, was like the fanning of angel's wings over graveyards, in the stilly night, to make deeper and sweeter the repose of the dead !
I listened! Mingling with the sad music of the wind and the willow, I heard, as it might be, the soft voices of friendly spirits. They spake to ine tenderly; and their tones were as the breathings of love.
“ Hiearken, O child of dust, pilgrim of a few years in these low-lands of sin and sadness, hearken to the voice of wisdom. Look around thee upon the earth! Hearest thou the hollow moanings of Autumn from the woods, from the groves, and from the mountains ? It is a prophecy of tho great Autumn of the world ; when all things shall fade and fall! Seest thou the falling of leaves, and the fading of the flowers ? So shall the light of thine eye, the health of thy cheek, and all that thou lovest on earth, fade and vanish away, when the short summer of this life is ended! Seest thou the dark clouds which hang around the portals of evening? They are like the pall-robes, which are hung over the bier, when man goeth to his long home! Dost thou feel, in thy limbs and at thy heart, monitive chills of coming winter? They are like the first, gentle touches of the cold band of death! Dost thou--"
Stay thy words, O spirits of the solemn tone,” I cried, " they bring to my spirit sad feelings, as it might be, the dark and ominous approaches of despair. They beget in my soul a sorrow, which, like a sigh, is called forth by thoughts of the past. They make me see nothing but vanity in the present. They cause gloomy shadows to ioat before the future.”
"Ah! child of dust and sin,” said the spirit, “that sadness is a healing sorrow to the soul. It is as the sighs and seekings of the exile, when he thinks of the land he left; and when, from his melted heart, well up the first tears of penitence that fall upon the homeward way!"
“Spirits of the solemn tone! is there no spring-time, to succeed the great Autumn of the world!"
"Aye, verily, to those that weep now, and are sad for sin ! To the broken-hearted there cometh a time of healing, and of joy. When the autumn is gone—when the dark winter is past - when the mourning earth, under the melting breathings of the south wind, shall open its long concealed fountains, and there shall be flowings, like streams of tears from the eyes of a penitent!—then cometh spring-time, and green trees, and lovely flowers, and joy, and hope, and life, and love !"
“Will it surely come, that eternal Spring which ends in an Autumn no more? Will it come, ye lonely spirits in the willow? Oh, when will it come!
Lift up thine eyes penitent child of dust; believe, hope, and smile and live forever! It cometh soon the spring-time of the Universe—and of thy spirit! It is before thee, the land where nothing fades, and where thy heart shall no more moan in answer to the mournful music of the spirits of Autumn, in the branches of the willow! Go thy way, and sigh, and sin no more.
The twilight had faded into night; but the stars were out above, and their soft light of love scemed to say: “Rest in hope, ye that live on the earth, and ye thai sleep in its bosom! We will watch till the morning comes !"
The wind ceased, and the spirits were quiet in the willows. Far—from afar, as if from out the infinite, I heard soothing words, and sweet songs, and voices of welcome! They said, "HITHER! HITHER !!!
THE MAGAZINES. The NATIONAL MAGAZINE for October is an excellentoomber. This mouth. ly has more of a religious character than any we receive. We have frequently praised it.
Putnam's Monthly for October. How glad would we be to hear that this excellent monthly bad excluded the Fashion Plate trash from every family. Some pumbers back we feared it was gliding a little into the light and sentimental; but laie numbers give promise ibat it will hold its original solid way. So may it be.
The llLUSTRATED MAGAZINE OF Art for July, August and September, is received. This is the first opportunity we have had to examine this publi. cation. The reading contents are of the most sulid character. To those interested in the Arts of painting, drawing and sculpture, this work must prove exceedingly valuable. The illustrations are all of classic bistorical char.
Three Dollars per annum. Address, Alexander Montgomery, No. 71 Bproce St. N. York.
THE POPULAR EDUCATOR for August and September. This magazine we cap also recommend. It is expecially valuable to Scbool Teachers. Price 124 Gedib per No. Each No. contains 44 pages Quarto.
THE CONTAGIOUSNESS OF SIN. The Apostle Paul says, “Evil communications corrupt good manners. A proverb, the correctness and truth of which, can only be fully understood by a careful notice of the influence sin has upon people, in their intercourse with each other. There is nothing we believe upon earth, that demands the attention of the Christian more, than a close observation of the various developments of sin. It can assimilate itself to almost every state in life and society, in a deceptive form, so much so, that our utmost vigilance for its discovery is often eluded. We see it in the higher circles of society, in an extrarefined shape, leading its votaries to superfluous adornment, politeness and language. And in the vulgar, in the most unrefined, sensual, and revolting form imaginable. But all this is evidence only, to show that sin will deceive us, and lead us to vanities, if we are not "awake to righteousness, and sin not.
To be more particular, in our remarks on the infectious nature of sin, we might profitably take a look at the effect it has in the family circle. Perhaps the parents have no love for the Redeemer, and the sanctuary of the Lord. If so what havoc may they make in their families, through their wicked influence. If they have no reverence for the sabbath, can we suppose they will teach their children to observe it. If they have no love for the Bible, is it very likely, that they will learn them to read it, and explain its sense, and enforce an obseryance of its precepts. If they are addicted to drunkenness, profanity, or any other gross sins, will they warn them of their ruinous effects, and the final doom of those who live and die in those vices. If they never have enjoyed the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, can they speak to them of the joys of the Christian. If they are not consistent members of the Church, will they urge them to join it. To all this, we answer in the negative ; and feel warranted from the fact, that sin is contagious, and that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
Again, impious brothers and sisters have an influence over the rest of the family. The ties of relationship are near and dear to every one, whether godly or ungodly. The pious brother
or pious sister has a peculiar love for those that are impious, yea, they love their souls more than they themselves do, and in their respect, and love, and desire for their eternal welfare, there is danger of being deceived by sin, by yielding too much, and going too far with them, in order to win them to Christ. Here is a danger to which all christians are exposed. Let all be aware that they yield not too much to the enemy, with the expectation of finally defeating him ; for perhaps when we look for success, we may find ourselves farther from it, and bring reproach upon the cause of Christ by so far consenting to evil. Do not the evil thing, hoping that good may come ; but rather let us be uncompromising in our attacks against evil in every shape, and as the apostle says, “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." And also “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth but that which is good to the use of cdifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
Just as the wicked example of parents is apt to lead their children astray, and cause them to grow up ungodly, just so may ungodly brothers and sisters by their influence and example, lead their other brothers and sisters out of the way that leads to everlasting life. And what an account for the day of judgment, when the sins of others are laid to our charge! And if there is any difference in the responsibility and influence of the members of the family, it rests upon the parents, and the eldest brothers and sisters. They can injure and ruin those lesser and younger ones, who cannot injure them, either by influence or example. Then you older brothers and older sisters, be not a stumbling block to those who are younger, for the Saviour said, “woe to that man by whom the offense cometh !" If we are instrumental in influencing those "little ones" to evil, “it were better for us that a millstone were hanged about our necks, and that we were drowned in the depth of the sea."
Another place where sin can influence silently though powerfully, is in the social circle. It is a common expectation in social pastimes, that something of mirthfulness approaching to vanity, should characterize the whole company in their conduct. But here is an honorable place for Satan. He knows how to turn giddiness and gaiety to his own interests. Too much mirth will lead to vanity, and nothing but vanity will lead to obscenity, and obscenity will lead to actual sin, and consequently a gloom of disgrace will overshadow the minds of those who once partook only in the mirth and pastimes of the social circle. Are then all social meetings and enjoyment sinful. Oh no, not if we talk and act like christians. “Let our conversation only be as it becometh the gospel of Christ," " conversation without coveteousness. “An example to believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity," as the Apostle Paul told Timothy.
But what is the reason, that the social circle is so often the place of so much lightness and vanity? Perhaps, only because two or three of the company are impious. They do not wish, and will not converse and act religiously, and consequently the others, are apt to allow the course of conversation to take the current that suits the few, at their loss, altogether out of civility towards them. But this is an extreme politeness on the part of professors of religion, that they should not attend to. It is manifestly giving wickedness the preference and privilege of bending everything to suit itself.
Nor is the influence of wicked persons felt in the family and social circles only. It is felt in all the business and communications with the people generally. In the shops, stores, manufactories, and in the field, we observe the same usurpations of sin, to bend the conversation and minds of men. Worldliness, sensuality, and vice of every sort, appears in general to be the -whole topic of conversation ; which if continued in for some time, will pervert the mind, sensualize the feelings, throw the whole individual, both soul and body, into the power of the devil. How important then, that Christians watch, and observe the various manifestations of sin and use their utmost righteous endeavors, to stop the current of sin, that flows through the conversation of the world. And this can be done, only by shunning "profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”
J. V. E.
FORMATION OF HABITS. Like flakes of snow that fall unperceived upon the earth, the seemingly unimportant events of life succeed one another. As the snow gathers together, so are our habits formed. No single filake that is added to the pile, produces a sensible change ; no single action creates, however it may exhibit, a man's character; but as the tempest hurls the avalanche down the mountain, and overwhelms the inhabitant and his habitation, so passion, acting upon the elements of mischief, which pernicious habits, have brought together by imperceptible accumulation, may overthrow the edifice of truth and virtue.