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indirect adoration of themselves. In the little girl kissing herself on the windows we see their mental and religious photograph drawn to the life-the happy face and last new dress very significant indeed in relation to the spirit and beliefs of such
Others emulate this child's spirit and conduct in the importance they attach to certain vestments and outward forms. Such men declare that they can only properly officiate before the people as the Priests of God as they are clothed in a certain dress, and for these external symbols of their creed they have shown themselves willing to suffer the penalties of at least a modern and comparatively luxurious martyrdom. The absence, however, of all earnest contention for those living truths of the everlasting gospel for which the primitive confessors of the faith faced death in all its most revolting forms, declares too plainly that they have no existence in their experience, and that their zeal for a certain dress in many instances is but a sensuous adoration of ecclesiastical pride and idolatry of themselves.
Others there are also who, while repudiating such outward forms of worship, and are very zealous for what they term the simplicity of Protestant ritual, are equally earnest in seeking to clothe themselves in the apparel of their own good deeds, arrayed in which, they do not hesitate, like the Pharisee of old, to give themselves the kiss of self-idolatry, and to praise themselves as they enumerate their good works even before God; so satisfied, indeed, are they with their own creature performances as a ground of acceptance before the Great Judge, that they do not hesitate to declare that God is their debtor, and must receive them as clothed in the costly vestments of their own virtues and made perfect by the work of their own hands.
To such men the death of Christ is a mystery they cannot understand, and the fact that He came here to seek and save the lost but the figment of a perverted conscience or morbid self-consciousness.
Others, under the influence of a still more subtle spirit of self-deception, make a Saviour of their feelings and mystic sensations; they like “to go up from nature up to nature's God.” In sympathy with a gifted poet they sing:
“ When thoughts
This voice such profess to hear, and declare that it is audible to them through certain feelings, tranquilising, elevating, and
but it is not a voice which weans them from love of fame, which preserves them from the kiss of self-love and the subtle spirit of intellectual pride and selfidolatry ; on the contrary, the voice of Him who, while He is the Lord of nature is no less the King of salvation, is seldom heard through His own works, or, if heard, only to be despised and its meaning rejected as foolishness.
Do you who read these lines see yourself reflected in any one of these experiences ? Does the conduct of the little child here depicted reflect your spirit and belief? If you are trusting in mere religious sentiments which exclude Christ, however beautiful to yourself and pleasing to others, you are but worshipping yourself, and kissing your own opinions in the glass of a vain and self-deceiving imagination. If you are resting upon the outward forms of worship, however correct and educated your taste, trusting to your good deeds or refined and mystic feelings evoked by the influence of nature, or warm admiration of the beautiful and the true, you are but kissing self, like the little child in the window, and you are as truly guilty of idolatry as those who buw down to worship an image the work of their own hands. The Word of God declares that we have all sinned, that we are all lost, and that all our own righteousnesses are but as filthiy rags; that by the deeds of the law no flesh living shall be justified ; that the blood of Christ only can cleanse us from sin, and that He only by His free grace can save us from its guilt and dominion ; and that only as we renounce self and all hope in ourselves, and embrace Him only by faith, can we be saved or reach a safe and scriptural evidence ; that our self-trust and ignorant idolatry of ourselves has been killed, and that God has received us as His children, and accepted and saved us in the Great Son of His love ; and if, as the result of God's teaching and grace, we are thus brought to know ourselves and to trust in Christ only for our acceptance with God, the spirit of the poet will be ours :
“Lord, mine must be a spotless dress,
But 'tis not mine to weave it;
I have but to receive it.
It is not mine to toil for peace ;
Thy cross, O Christ! doth make it.
And gladly, simply take it.
It is not mine to purchase life,
I take because Thou givest;
I live because Thou livest.
iss ELLA ! Miss Ella ! you're going to school in your
best hat, and it's raining !” cried nurse, from the top of the stairs, to a little girl, who was flying
down them, and had almost reached the bottom. Oh! it doesn't matter; I can't stop now," called back Ella, as she hastily slammed the front door, and rushed off. It was a drizzling March morning, cold and bleak; as Ella, late as usual, hurried down the lane, she found she had dropped one of her fur-lined gloves. She could not wait to go back for it; but, with a muttered “It does not matter; I can buy a new pair next month with my allowance," she went on. She reached school just in time, and took her place amongst the other girls already assembled.
At one o'clock the classes were dismissed, and the girls walked home to dinner by twos and threes, friend mating with friend. Ella had her own particular favourite, and had a long chat with her, forgetting how time passed away, On reaching home she ran upstairs, first peeping into the dining-room, and feeling some little astonishment at seeing no dinner-cloth laid, or luncheon ready, as usual. “Mother! mother !” she cried, rushing into her mother's bed-room, where Mrs. Merton sat working ; Anne has not even laid the cloth, and I shall be late for school, if dinner is not soon ready."
“Oh! it doesn't matter," carelessly replied Mrs. Merton, without looking up from her work.
Ella stood amazed. Such a way of treating her expressed necessities was very unlike her mother, but Ella, seeing her diligently stitching on, said nothing more, but went slowly upstairs to the nursery. There, as she opened the door, she saw nurse sitting in the rocking-chair, with her hands idly folded before her. The two little ones, pretty, goldenhaired twin-girls, were busy with paint-brushes and red paint, decorating the nursery wall with wonderful and fearful designs of their own.
“Oh, nurse !" Ella exclaimed; “ look what Hettie and Mattie are doing !”
“It doesn't matter," composedly answered nurse, rocking herself to and fro.
“ But mamma will be so angry,” pleaded Ella, very much astonished at nurse's indifference to the mischief of the little ones.
“ It doesn't matter,” replied nurse quietly.
Ella felt very uncomfortable. The phrase was a familiar one, but started up unexpectedly and inconveniently to-day.
More slowly than ever she went down again, feeling quite ready for luncheon; but she saw no sign of it. At last, going to the top of the backstairs, she called to Mrs. Morgan, the cook, saying that she should be late for school, if luncheon were not soon sent up.
" It doesn't matter," replied cook, from the depths of the kitchen, much to Ella's disgust and uneasiness.
A quarter-past two came, and she was obliged to leave home without eating more than a crust of bread. I cannot say Ella liked this, but strangely enough, on this particular day, it seemed to her as if every one combined against her to make things at home as uncomfortable as possible. Just as she left for school she saw the parlour-maid beginning to lay the cloth for luncheon; but she could not delay, as she had to be back again at her French class at a quarter-past two.
Five o'clock came, and Ella went home. It was a cold evening, and she anticipated, with pleasure, the bright school-room fire and hot cup of tea awaiting her. most grievously disappointed to find neither. Her mother was out, the servant said ; and as to fire and tea, why she knew nothing about them, and “it didn't matter," she added, indifferently. “ But it does matter," said Ella, indignantly.
“ I can't think what has come over every one, I'm sure," and she wandered, forlornly, upstairs. By-and-by she heard her mother come in, and she hastened to her room.