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is wise to note the causes of failure and to remedy them, vigilant in his guard against easily besetting sins, resolute in avoiding circumstances, companionships, books, amusements, the practical influence of which is to dull the moral sense, throw the watchman of the soul off his guard, give the tempter his opportunity and temptation its power. A wise man will regulate circumstance, give advantage to influences of good. "Lead us not into temptation" will be not his daily prayer only, but his daily striving.


Read Matt. x. 16-42; Phil. ív.


"Wise unto that which is good." must think that this includes expertness as well as feeling and striving. Many people are good and earnest without being wise. There are awkward, blundering, repellent ways of goodness that hinder its due influence. How utterly destitute of the sense of fitness, of occasion, of facilitating method, of predisposing feeling, of tact, some men are! Their goodness irritates you, provokes resentment; it is hard, conceited, unpitying; it makes no allowance for other circumstances, for other temperaments. It is a pride of goodness hurtful to itself as well as to others. One could almost wish, and perhaps it might be the best thing that could happen to it, that it might, as Peter did, fall under some great temptation. Nothing can cure the Pharisaism of some people's goodness but a shameful failure. Such men's goodness lacks modesty, self-distrust, graciousness. It is self-satisfied and intolerant. "Considering thyself lest thou also be tempted."

How awkward, again, some really good humble people are in their ways! With eager, almost agonising desire, they fail in discernment, adaptation, tact. They do the right thing in the wrong way, or at the wrong time; they blurt out their good sayings in awkward, untimely speech; they proffer their good doings at unfavourable seasons or in adverse conditions. Nothing is more offensive to good men, or more provocative of ridicule and resentment in bad ones, than the cant of religious phrases, the ritual of conventional speech, the indiscriminateness of religious requirement; as if fidelity to Christ consisted in unctuous phrases about Him. A man "wise unto that which is good" will intuitively speak his "word in season," insinuate or suggest his rebuke, or teaching, or appeal, so as to predispose to assent before passion or prejudice discovers what is meant.

How much, too, might be said about doubtful means of doing good things-of raising money to build churches, of employing expedients to fill them when built, of the aims and methods of preachers, of the support of evangelistic and benevolent agencies, of methods for reclaiming men from vices! The end does not sanctify the means. The science of good doing is as much as the zeal for it. It demands an intuitive conscience, a pure feeling, an instinctive delicacy.

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Simple unto that which is evil." This also relates to moral feeling; sensitiveness to good has necessarily for its negative obtuseness to evil. A keen sympathy with the one implies dull apprehension of the other. "Simple;" that is, unmixed with it; artless, unskilled; inapt as well as ignorant. It is a great grace to be ignorant of evil in every sense of familiar understanding-I know that it is evil, and I know no more concerning it. We cannot know evil without suffering from our knowledge; without injury to our moral sense; defilement of our moral atmosphere. There are things that are "not so much as to be named amongst us, as becometh saints," of which we are "ashamed even to speak." Evil is a poison; once imbibed it inflicts permanent injury upon our moral constitution. Some kinds of knowledge are intrinsically a curse. fane, profligate ideas cannot be discharged from our thoughts or excluded from the imagination, however resentfully the heart may repel them. It is not that a man lacks sincerity, guilelessness, pure sympathies; it is that unclean images have entered his imagination and will not be exorcised. Even in our worship what evil thoughts will sometimes come, like the illomened birds that "came down upon the carcases" of Abraham's sacrifice, and which he had to drive away!


Of course it means unpractised in evil, innocent of all its habits, simply earnest in repelling every form of it."Evil_shall not have dominion over you;" not looking with desire upon evil things, and wishing that they were lawful; not parleying with the tempter, and debating with moral casuistry whether the apple really be "good to make one wise." Dallying with the evil suggestion; hesitating whether we may or may not; walking as near as we may on the carnal side of the narrow way-this is not to be "simple unto that which is evil;" it is to be casuistical; to harbour traitorous lust in the very citadel of the soul. A man falls on the side towards which he leans.

Unequivocalness, straightforwardness, entireness, are characteristic of the man who is "simple unto that which is evil." In the domain of neutral things-things which can scarcely be classed as either good or evilthe simple-hearted man will always give the doubt to the virtuous side. He will keep as far from evil as possible; "avoid the very appearance of evil."

Can too great moral importance be attached to simple, unequivocal speech; the absence of ambiguity, casuistry, double meanings, suggestions of what we do not exactly intend, then meanly evading the responsibility of our suggestion?

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Simple unto that which is evil"-incapable, therefore, of base, mean suspicions of other men; thinking evil, imputing mean motives, the absence of noble generosity and faith. Mean souls always suspect meanness in others. Half of our vile suspicions, our base detraction of others, is simply the reflection, the refraction, of our own bad hearts. Noble natures are incapable of mean suspicions; they are "simple unto that which is evil" because evil has no place in



Read Col. iii.; 1 Thess. v. 14-28.

devil." We all know the thousand little things that help or hinder holiness-tempers, lusts, casual feelings, incidental doings. We all know that to strive against evil checks and weakens evil, strengthens the power of good, creates habit-" we cease to do evil, learn to do well." The discipline of life re-acts powerfully upon the temper and strength of life.

We may also culture incitements to goodness-impulses, inducements. "I have set God always before me," keeping the thought of God prominent and dominating. Men do not easily sin when they think of God; in all sin there is somewhat of atheism, God is either denied or forgotten. We may do much to fill life with the sense of God, His pure moral beauty, His loving fatherhood.

We may make ourselves familiar with large and lofty spiritual ideas, with ideal conceptions, with notable examples of holiness, such as we find in the Bible. What a mighty moral effect upon character the thoughtful reading of such a book has !


We may utilise the public worship of God, in which the loftiest spiritual thoughts and feelings and things are solicited. speaks ill for the spiritual tone of a man's heart, when God's house becomes to him a matter of indifference, when it has ceased to be a passionate desire. How mightily the things of worship help goodness when sought for their teaching and impulse!

So that it is a quality, a temper of life that is meant. To be attained, therefore, only by the general culture of life. It cannot How can a man grow to spiritual strength be realised by a mere ritual of things, by a and refinement when he is indifferent about mere sentiment, by mere wishes and resolu- things that most conduce to them, when he tions, only by a practical cultivation of sanc- permits himself to drift into profane comtity, refinement, elevation in feeling. A panionship and converse, to read impure ritual homage to goodness, a smirking literature, to saturate mind, imagination, ignoring of evil, prudery, sanctimoniousness and heart with foul ideas! Only a resolute are offensive and unreal. Only the intrinsic eschewing of things that are evil, an asquality of a man's nature can realise this siduous following of things that are good, temper. Innocence cannot be simulated; can make a man wise. you cannot be holy by rubric. You must begin with the sympathies and qualities of your heart itself, seek the "renewing of the Holy Spirit day by day;" "the end of the commandment is, love out of a pure heart, and a good conscience and faith unfeigned;" the end of all " means of grace is grace itself.

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The discipline of life will do much-a watchful restraint, so that no evil feeling is permitted to embody itself in action, so that no doing or association shall minister to evil feeling. We cannot become good by merely wishing to be good; strenuous battle must be waged against the evil within and the evil without, "the world, the flesh, and the

And this in the spirit of prayerful dependence for that divine influence which alone can quicken life, which alone can vitalise all ministries to life, which by making a pure and tender atmosphere around us "builds up the being that we are." "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."

What a grandeur there is in Christianity! How radical its method of dealing with human ills, how potent its agencies, how transcendent its issues! How blessed human life would be were its processes wrought out, its ideal realised; were men "wise unto that which is good and simple unto that which is evil!"






ERHAPS, if she had had but time to think of it, there was nobody by whom she would rather have been found in a situation so painful and humiliating, since it was fated that she should be discovered at all. Ned Blane, to her mind, was wise, tender, discreet, and brave-and that is not a combination of characteristics at all to be looked for in every young man who may by chance surprise a woman in distress; and he was an old friend into the bargain. She shrank from him, however, in a new distress so acute that for the instant the pain of it killed the old one, and she seemed almost to recover possession of herself.

"It is nothing," she said. "Go away, Mr. Blane. Leave me. Pray do. I am going home."

At the first sound of her voice he knew her, and the tone seemed to enter his heart like a knife. He discerned a tragedy at once, but his mind outran the facts-distancing them by so much that he found Hackett guilty of a score of villainies before she had spoken her last word.

"Nothing!" he said, in a voice of real anguish. "Oh yes, dear, there is much the matter. Tell me. Can I help you


In all her life she had never heard the voice of a heart in pain until that moment. She had heard the voice of little sorrows often enough, but here she was in touch with something terrible. The voice shook her from head to foot with an instant revelation. "Nothing," she said, breathing unevenly and trembling. "I am not very well, and I am foolish. Oh, pray go away, Mr. Blane. Let me go home alone. I am better. It is all over now."

"Let me see you home," he answered, in a voice suddenly dry and commonplace. "I won't distress you by talking. Take my arm."

She yielded, and walked by his side through the darkness, with a sob catching her breath now and again. There was enough in the encounter to fill both minds. As for the girl, she knew now what she had merely guessed before. The guess had never concerned her greatly. And suddenly she blushed hotly in the dark, and withdrew her hand from his arm so swiftly that the motion startled


him. He had called her "dear." What right had he to speak to her in such a way? What right had she-a married woman-to take the arm of a man who addressed her in such terms?

"I will go home alone, if you please, Mr. Blane," she said. The defensive feminine instinct was uppermost now, and made her altogether mistress of herself again.

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"As you please," he said, as coldly as he had spoken last. "Your wish is my law." There was not a touch of gallantry in the tone. Nothing, indeed, could have been further away from it, but she misliked the words, and slipped away with a chill "Good night,' and a "Thank you" murmured with halfturned head when she was a dozen paces from him. He stood stock-still until her figure was just melting into the darkness, and then walked after her, accommodating his pace to hers, and merely keeping her in sight-a moving shadow. When they left the grassy path, and came upon the road of hard-beaten cinder which marked the beginning of the town, she could hear his footsteps at a distance behind her, and knew that he was following. She was warm with indignation against him now, and the unlucky word rankled woundingly. Blane, for his part, was unconscious of having used it.

The new disturbance in Mary Hackett's mind was so much less poignant than the old that it came as a sort of relief from it. It would not have been altogether wonderful if there had been an underlying sense of complacency in it. The sorrow with which a woman regards the sufferings of her hopeless lover-even when she believes in them and can partly understand them—is not all sorrow. If she had cared for the man-if she had had even a remote fear of being in love with him-the case would have been very different. But, being free of any shadow of that sort, she was free also to find any little ray of comfort there might be in the fact that a brave man cared for her. And so, in the human, self-contradictory way, which is all the more marked when the humanity is feminine, she was angry with Ned Blane for being in love with her, and a little comforted thereby at the same time, though vaguely.

To reach home was to go back to all the shames and miseries which had haunted her

throughout the day. The man in possession was in the hall when she entered, and was smoking a meditative pipe there as he walked up and down,

"I know the gaffer to be a smoker, ma'am," he said, touching his bald forehead in token of respect, "and so I thought you'd tek no offence if I took a puff or two here. The night's close, and it's a bit stuffy in the kitchen."

"You may smoke here if you like," she answered in a choked voice, and escaped upstairs.

It was beginning to grow late to her fancy, that is to say, it was nearing ten o'clockbut she resigned herself to a further waiting of two or three hours for her husband's return. She heard his step on the path and his key at the latch with a heart which beat half in relief and half in fear. It was something, though not much, to have him back so early; but the news with which she had to receive him seemed as shameful to tell as it had been to suffer.

"Mary," called the jolly, rollicking voice from the foot of the stairs, "where are you?" Then there was an exclamation, and "Hillo! what do you do here?"

Her place was by her husband's side. If her sense of duty could not carry her so far now, how had it led her to the altar? But she moved reluctantly, and came upon the pair pale as a ghost, and with eyes red and swollen with crying. Hackett was reading the document Abram had presented to him by the light of a lamp which stood upon the little hall table, and he had thrust his felt hat on one side to clutch a disorderly handful of curls.

"Will!" she said, laying a hand upon his shoulder. He turned with a grimace intended to make light of the thing, and went back to his reading.

"Old Lowther, is it?" said he, half to himself. "He promised to wait, the villain. Well, who sups with the Lowther should have a long spoon, and mine's of the shortest. I'm afraid he'll get the best of it. Look here!" he addressed himself to Abram"you keep dark. I've got two or three gentlemen coming to supper and to take a hand at cards. I don't want you in the way. You understand?"

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"All right, my lad," he said. "You stick to the kitchen."

"Will," said his wife, when Abram had retired, "you won't have people here tonight?" She laid a timid hand upon his arm, and looked up at him appealingly.

"Why not?" he asked, staring at her in an affected astonishment. "I must. They'll be here in five minutes, my dear, and you must get a bit of supper ready."

"There is nothing in the house," she answered miserably. "It is too late to send out, and I am ashamed to send to the tradespeople already."

He stood gnawing at his moustache for a minute, and bent his eyebrows as he stared gloomily at the floor.

"Oh! I'll put that all right," he said, recovering himself, and turning with his usual jaunty swagger. "I shan't be away more than ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, and you'll tell the fellows to wait. I'm going down to the Chase Arms, and I'll get the landlord to send something up."

"Will," she broke out sobbing, "where is all this to end? You entertain your friends when we haven't even bread to eat ourselves that we can pay for honestly."

"Look here, Polly," said Hackett, turning upon her with an expression which had first surprised her on her wedding-day, and had since then grown familiar, "my business is my business. Leave me to it and mind your own.

And don't take that tone with me, for I can't stand it, and I'm not going to try."

She dropped her hands with a gesture of despairing resignation, and turned away. Mr. Hackett was a great deal too desirous of his own good opinion to permit the discussion to close in this manner. When a man is indubitably in the right, and is profoundly conscious that there is nothing in his career for which he can blame himself, he naturally likes to say so.

"I won't have those airs," said he therefore, "any more than I'll have that tone." Miserable as she was she found strength enough for a flash of disdain at this. The scorn in her eyes was weary and sad enough, but it was none the less real on that account. "And I won't be looked at in that way, either," he went on, in a tone more frankly wrathful than he had ever used before to her. "Don't you try that sort of air on me, my lady, or you'll find it won't pay, I can assure you. If you think I married in order to have a perpetual wet blanket in the house, you're very much mistaken, let me tell you. And here's

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