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IN tracing the proper path of the Christian gentleman, the subjects last alluded to have incidentally crossed our way. It requires a cautious tread to be safe in these times. Many misleading lights glimmer on the right hand and on the left, to betray us into swamps and quagmires. The atmosphere of religion itself is full of vapours and false fires. However strong and steady its proper light, many meteors gather round it and disturb its influence. In the midst of much activity, much moral ebullition, a singleness and integrity of purpose may be wanting. The mass and momentum of the public mind may be parcelled out till its force is frittered away. Societies, schemes, and institutions, committees and subcommittees, may teem and swarm upon the floor of the religious world; charities may jostle and cross each other; there may be the dust, and smoke, and din of philanthropy; school may rival school, and teachers canvass for scholars there may be the bazaar and the ball; much female commotion and fair impertinence; the daughters of Zion, in all their bravery of attire,
sitting at their stands and stalls, and forgetting to blush in their pious work of traffic and exposure: but still the crowning end and proper design of all this stir and agitation may be lost sight of, or scarcely mentioned, or faintly avowed. Talk of the soul's concern and God's glory; of making the Saviour known; of sending through a world of sin the healing proclamation of the Gospel; of giving to the poor the learning that belongs to them by the charter of their spiritual destination, and you may find that you have touched upon a theme to which all this loquacious activity has little distinct reference: a theme it is that comprises all that is valuable and sound in any religious or charitable undertaking; but it leaves out the picturesque and captivating part, and administers nothing to a mere negotiating and intermeddling egotism.
To distinguish the specious and the sparkling from the solid and useful, is an exercise of discrimination of great importance to the Christian gentleman in his family. Home is, after all, his nearest concern, and should be the main concern of her on whom the dignity of home depends. A vagrant charity but ill compensates for a deserted hearth, a distracted economy, and a loose domestic government. The moral landscape is imperfect without a good foreground: it is that
which gives value to the distant scenery. Home is the nucleus of national morality. Popular meetings, and the bustle of management, are apt to usurp upon those duties which, if defectively performed, leave society in want of that primary nourishment which is not to be superseded by artificial substitutes. The mother should be the moon of her little world, and recruit her horn. from the source of genuine illumination: her light, so borrowed and so dispensed, is soft, serene, and holy; and her influence flows out from a centre of interior loveliness, till it fills the circle with which she is surrounded. But while all are for educating all, specific culture may lie neglected; and the simple, tender task of maternal management is ill exchanged for the ambulatory and ambitious range of distant objects.
It is true, that sometimes the outer verge of that rampart which separates the provinces of moral duty has been trod by the gentler sex with a singularity of usefulness: but in general the Christian mother carries in her bosom the sense of an accumulating arrear, which increases with every step in the path that leads her from her home and its warm precincts. The Christian gentleman's family should be a concentrated family, always acting in combination, and with a steady union of purpose in the work of practical
piety; it then acts upon society with a collective force, which gives it an influence hard to be resisted. But if its integrality be broken into parts, however separately sound, yet not harmoniously composed, its movements are vacillating, and its effects feeble and fugitive. A Christian gentleman should be the Coryphæus of his household; to whose example all about him should respond in happy religious concord. This is the perfection of domestic felicity.
THE POLITICS OF THE CHRISTIAN GENTLEMAN.
WE hear, occasionally, of a distinction between public and private character, grounded on no real difference. It may be, that some may use the term in a looser sense than others; but to affirm that Christian principle can be modified by circumstances, can be active in one situation and quiescent in another, is to forget the nobility of its origin. The Christian gentleman's character is independent of place or time. In every part of his course he maintains his parallelism. The security and comfort which the simplicity of his moral plan conveys to his bosom, are as remarkable as the dignity and grace which it lends to his example. There may be occasions produced by public life too strong and prevailing for the virtue that has approved itself within the circle of private intercourse; but then the entire man is depressed by every such instance to a lower grade in the scale of moral dignity; the sum of his value is reduced; and no solecism could be more dangerous to Christian ethics than to treat such failures as terminating in themselves, or as in