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'Twas a Summer Morning
321 “Unto Me;" or, No Name 230
“ Watchman, what of the
« Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto
the Father, but by Me."- John xiv. 6.
AM sorry I cannot agree with
you, uncle, but really I think you carry your theory too far. It seems to me that if a man acts honourably and honestly, and does what he considers right, he is in as fair a way to heaven as—well, as any one-let his belief be what it may."
The speaker was a young man; young, at least, in comparison with the person whom
he addressed as uncle.” T'he elder gentleman smiled sadly, and shook his head as he replied, " It is all very well to be honest and honourable, Leonard, and to do what you think is right; but this is not enough. I think you would hardly assert that you have never broken the law of God, and you know what the Bible says, 'For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.'”
“Yes, I know that, uncle ; but I can't help thinking that if I do my duty as well as lays in my power I shall be as well off in the end as others who profess a great deal more than I do."
“ There is but one way, Leonard, to eternal life. Our Saviour said of Himself 'I am the way ;' the way, you see, not a way
There is no other way to God but through Christ."
“Well, uncle," returned Leonard, wearily, “what you say may be correct; but I confess that you have not altered my opinion that if a man does what he considers right, he can do no more; and it would be hard to punish him for a mistake."
But, Leonard, why should you make a mistake when the Bible so plainly sets forth the true and only way? In the Scripture you have an infallible guide ; why not follow its directions, instead of trusting to your own judgment as to what is right and wrong?"
“ I have seen a good deal of your Bible readers, uncle, and I don't find that they are any better than their neighbours. I could tell you of plenty of instances where those who have made the greatest show and profession of religion have been the hardest-fisted men of business; ay, and not the most scrupulous either ; while others who have tried to do right according to their own consciences, and perhaps have never opened a Bible except at church on Sunday, have been honourable and trustworthy in business, and kind and liberal in their private lives. I could mention a man, who has only just paid a fine-not the first eitherfor giving short weight to his customers, and yet he is for ever prating about the Bible and setting himself up for a religious man. What do you say to that, uncle?” "I say that it is a very sorrowful case, Leonard; but
you cannot think that the man you mention would have been more honest if he had never read God's Word. At any rate, I am sure the Bible did not teach him to be unfair in his dealings. If he had taken its teachings to heart, he would have been saved from the sin and disgrace into which you say he has fallen. Here," continued Mr. Grayson, “is a passage which lays down a rule for our lives ; surely no one would be the worse for obeying it.” Saying this, the speaker opened a pocket Testament and read the eighth verse of the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Philippians : “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.' And then again : 'Provide things honest in the sight of all men.' It is not the reading of the Bible that makes any one less upright than he should be. If a professing Christian is systematically unjust and dishonest, he shows himself to be a professor only, and not a true child of God. You must not condemn all Christians because there are some who take the
name upon them without adopting the spirit of Christianity."
' Oh, as far as that goes, uncle, I don't feel inclined to condemn any one. So long as he is honest and straightforward, he is at liberty to think what he pleases, so far as I am concerned; but I must be allowed the same liberty myself.”
“And you still adhere to your view that a man may gain heaven and happiness by living as good a life as he can, even if he never looks into the Word of God?" 66 Yes.”
Then, Leonard, I pray that your eyes may be opened.” The conversation was here interrupted by the entrance of others, and Leonard Grayson was glad to escape further talk; for, truth to tell, he found that on points of religion he was no match for his uncle, who seemed to have the words of the Bible at his fingers' ends.
Mr. Grayson, the uncle, lived in one of the many pretty villas which line the banks of the river Avon; and Leonard, his nephew, was at that time paying him a visit. It would have been difficult to find a more cheerful and pleasant companion than was Leonard Grayson; but his uncle would have been glad to find more than these characteristics in him; he would have seen him an enlightened Christian. But, alas ! Leonard had imbibed the notions so common, and so fatal to the development of true religion, that man could do without a Saviour ; that, in fact, hy living a moral life he might attain to such perfection as to merit that life which the Bible tells us can only be obtained through faith in a crucified and risen Redeemer.
No wonder then that Mr. Grayson sighed deeply when his nephew turned from him with evident relief, and welcomed the company that had interrupted his uncle's arguments.
It was a lovely evening in June; Leonard Grayson was still his uncle's guest, and more than once the subject of which we have written 'had been reverted to, but with no satisfactory result; the young man was not to be persuaded that he was wrong in his opinion, that by living a moral life he could obtain for himself the approbation of God and become an inheritor of life eternal. In spite of his uncle's often-repeated counsel, he would not take the Bible for his guide, but rather followed the theory of those who teach morality as the proper road to heaven.
On the evening mentioned, Leonard was walking alone in the woods on the opposite side of the river, admiring the beauty of the scenery, and listening to the songs of the many birds that filled the air with their notes of gladness. So greatly did he enjoy his walk that he extended it far beyond his ordinary limits, and at length was surprised to find that he had overstepped the time at which he wished to be at home.
“How careless of me!” he exclaimed, hastening to re