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it, will he accept the return? No. Though it was but one, he requires that it be also put out for increase. If not, he says: "Take ye the unprofitable servant and cast him into outer darkness.

A man plants an orchard with the intent that all the trees may grow and bear fruit. There is one here or there which says to itself: I will not grow, but remain as I am; because if I grow, fruit will be expected of me. It remains a puny scrub! Will he excuse it? Nay, verily I say, he will grub it up and throw it to the flames with useless thorns and briars; and he will plant another in its stead! We blame him not, but praise him for it.

O, let us not think lightly of sins of ignorance! Let us reflect on the loss which we ourselves sustain from it, even independent of the guilt and penalty which it draws after it. We lose incalculable present satisfaction. To know right and wrong-to have full, clear views of law and duty, is its own joy.

Let us remember also how it unfits us to sustain proper relations to others. We are not only unable to lead and influence others in the right which is our solemn duty, but we even mislead those whom we are to show the way. How important is light in the various positions we are called upon to occupy in life! as parents-husband-wife-as members of the church-sabbath school teachers--officers in church or state. In short, what position, however humble can any one occupy rightly, with imperfect views of right and wrong?

What a dishonor it is to God to manifest or feel so little interest in His revelation. The work of Christ is the wonder of angels! We, who are infinitely more interested in it, are willing to be in ignorance in regard to its solemn teachings. What presumption thus to treat the kindest gifts of God, "and hope to be forgiven."



"And Nathaniel said unto him, 'Can there anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip saith unto him, Come and see.'"'

THERE are many Nathaniels. They seem never to see any good unless it has its origin in their own Commonwealth; and yet we know that much good does come out of even Nazareth. Some can see no good in the writings of the pious, learned old heathen,-no good in their systems of philosophy and various theological speculations: yet who does not know that these very men were the earnest spirits of their age? Who does not know that they by their teachings and writings exerted an untold influence for good upon their own and after ages, and, in the hand

of God, greatly aided in preparing the soil of heathendom for the precious seed of truth sown by the first Missionaries?

Of these thoughtful, religious heathen, none of his age was more influential for good than Plato. He was a Grecian by birth, a philospher by choice, and lived about four centuries before Christ. We must look upon him with the deepest interest. He was a great man, an acute thinker, and an earnest seeker after truth. Belonging to an age and nation of the highest intellectual development, living at a time when the Grecian mind had attained to the very acme of its strength and glory, surrounded by men of the greatest learning, and being himself endowed with powerful intellect, and imbued with an earnest desire to know truth-he was specially fitted, both by nature and circumstances, to do the great work which he so nobly did. Possessing every advantage that a pagan philosopher could possess, he turned them to the best account and produced the most interesting results: he soon outstripped the mythic theology of his day, rose high above his cotemporaries, and from his lofty stand-point, looking beyond the ordinary range of philosophical research, reached out still farther into the mysterions, unknown realms of moral science.

In his most interesting character he stands out prominently as the representative of that class of earnest truth-seekers who, having transcended the mysticism of their age and become dissatisfied with the vague, unsteady theology of their fathers, now sought to discover the truth in regard to the mysteries of matter, soul and spirit,-men who sought a resting-place for their unquiet spirit, desiring to know the meaning of the still, small voice" that could not be hushed; of these thoughtful, religious heathen, Plato is the fair representative.

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How peculiarly interesting, then, would be a history of his inner life; that life not lived with the world, nor yet with his devoted disciples who hung upon his lips with intensest interest; but that which only God saw, a history of those great struggles with limitation, those determined wrestlings for victory over error and finiteness, those gropings in the dark after an uncertain good, which he himself could not comprehend.

His earnestness may be seen on almost every page of his writings. Like a familiar friend, he lays open his heart, and gives us all his hopes and fears, all his doubts and difficulties. His style is beautifully poetical, varying with the sentiment: now he is grave and philosophical; then again, light and musical; now descending to the capacity of a plebeian, then again soaring in majestic flights as if to imitate the language of the gods. Sometimes he is very obscure; not for want of language, but rather because he did not fully comprehend his own great idea. He felt more than he could express. His anxious spirit winged its way far beyond the reach of his understanding and received impressions of divinity and infinity that were too high, too deep for him; he could only record them, and meekly too, for he knew that what he reached after was still a great way off. Hence his writings have a meaning for us, which Plato himself did not apprehend-a sense and depth which he did not attach to them. What beautiful thoughts we find in his discourse on the immortality of the soul! What an insight they give us into the workings of his higher nature, and how they raise him in our estimation!

It is true that while discoursing about God, eternity, or the immor

tality of the soul, he sometimes loses confidence in what he is about to say, as if he realized the weakness of una sisted human reason to deal with such mysteries; the great questions in hand are too solemnly momentous for confident assertion; his weak natural faith sometimes yields to the overwhelming thought of infinity and immortality; he bows in humble awe to the great spirit within and around him, and instead of an unconditional "it is" thus and so, he employs a doubtful "if it be " thus and so.

So in all his speculative writings. He, as well as his cotemporaries could rise no higher than this. He had a lofty stand-point, yet not the right one. He held many erroneous views; yet he held them consistently with his age, nation and education. We must not criticise Plato as we do Bacon. We must judge him, not in the light of christianity, but as a heathen. While we acknowledge his errors, and call his system of philosophy, judged in the light of christianity, weak and futile ; we at the same time hold that if due allowance be made for his pagan education and pagan surroundings, his equal cannot be found. His system of philosophy is the purest, the noblest of his day. No other system came so near christianity as his; and no other exerted so great and favorable an influence upon it In fact it proved as it were a "schoolmaster to lead to Christ," as in the case of Augustine. No man can estimate its influence on the early church.

Had Plato lived to see the fullness of time, how eagerly he would have laid hold of the new revelation! We would then, perhaps, have the record of another midnight conversation; another sincere Nicodemus astonished and wondering, would have asked: "How can this be?" Plato was a heathen; but his earnestness, his pagan piety and exalted views of God, will in the great day of accounts be swift witnesses against the corruptive scepticism and infidelity of the present day.

He did not live to see the fullness of time, and we have no record of a second Nicodemus; but still from the green groves and the shady bowers of the old Academy comes an earnest, pleading voice, sounding through the long series of intervening years-the voice of Plato, "the divine." The statues, temples and tombs of the illustrious dead which once adorned the garden of the philosopher, are all gone; his walks and favorite haunts, the garden itself, are changed; other scenes are enacted there now, and yet to us it is sacred ground. The spirit of the old man seems still to preside there, and we love to think of it as a spot consecrated by learning, genius and earnest though heathen piety.

BEWARE, beware of witchery!
And fall not in the snare

That lurks and lies in wanton eyes,
Or hides in golden hair;

For the Witch has sworn to catch thee,
And her spells are on the air



Aubin. Death-the Greeks were afraid of the very word; they would not use it if they could help it, nor would the Romans, though less sensitive. And we-we Christians speak it like an unnatural word. And yet the thing itself, when it happens, will be quite a matter of course; and for us Christians there will be no sting in it; and all the bitterness of it will be found to have been drunk by us long ago. For our life is an act of dying, and we die just as fast as we live. The pleasures of boyhood, holidays and half-holidays, climbing trees, rolling down green hill-sides, looking for birdnests, playing with snow, chasing one another, especially in the twilight, sporting in the water and swimming-all this I have been dead to long, long. Many a purpose of station and fame that was once life of my life, I am dead to. Every month I die to some old object, or hope, or delight; and every midnight do I die to a yesterday.

Marham. Ay, in the midst of life we are in death; we are; and it is most true.

Aubin. Be not most melancholy, nor as much so as your tone, uncle. For if life is so very like death, then death cannot be so very unlike life. Marham. What is that? how is that?

Aubin. It is quite a triumph, is not it? detecting the nothingness of death, this way. I will show you how it is. Our daily death

Marham. Why Oliver, what an expression, our daily death! But it is a true one. And if we lived in the feeling of it, we should not be afraid of death long. If only men did die daily, then they would not die at all. But this they will not do. But yet, whether we think it or not, we become dead to many and many an object. This is our mortality.

Aubin. And no such very sad thing. You cannot leap over gates, and across ditches, and up to the boughs of trees, as you used to do. It is no time with you now to undress yourself on the bank of the river and jump into it, careless about the depth; you cannot run a mile in seven minutes

Marham. No, I am sure I cannot.

Aubin. Well, do you want to do it, or any of those other things? No, you do not, no more than you covet a condor's wings, or Nero's old palace, or Samson's strength, or any other impossibility. Then where is the grief or any reason for it? Grievous it would be, very, if there were an impulse in you to run eight miles an hour and you could not achieve four; or if at sight of a gate, you always wished to leap over it and could not. But as you do not wish any of these boyish things, inability to do them is nothing to lament. The sorrow, if there is any, is in your having grown not to care about what were the pleasures of your childhood, and some of your youthful objects. Now there are

those to whom boyish sports are a delight at fifty years of age-men who are happy for hours together in blowing soap-bubbles, and chasing butterflies. But then who are they?

Marham. Poor idiots, certainly. But there are things of quite another class from what you have mentioned, which you and I have become uninterested in.

Aubin. Have grown indifferent to. And grown into this indifference we have, and not decayed into it. Many childish delights, and many youthful joys, a man has no pleasure in; for he has grown thoughtful, and so in thoughtless things he is no longer pleased. no longer pleased. And is this, then, melancholy? No, uncle, no! I am free of the hall where the Muses live. They talk to me divinely about the arts and sciences, about what the ages were that are past, and what the ages to come will be like. One Muse thrills me with her voice in singing, and then one of her sisters entrances me with music, and from time to time they give me nectar to drink Mortal as I am, I drink the drink of immortals. This is what I do, and often. So that it is no decay of nature, when I am out in the fields, if I am not eager after wild fruits like a boy. Childish games have no interest for us now; but it is because of our interest in life-the great game of the passions. Many things I do not feel about as I did at fifteen; but it is because since then I have thought the same things as John Milton, and sat under a tree with Plato and his friends, and heard them discourse together. True, the earth is not to me what it was. It is no broad play-ground now; but it is something better still, for it feels under my feet like the floor of a temple not made with hands. Fellow-creatures met by chance I cannot now be merry with for an hour, and then miss for ever without caring; but this is because between me and God the fleshy veil is worn so thin that light shines through, and souls look solemn in it.

Marham. Go on Oliver. You have more to say, have not you?

Aubin. There are youthful pleasures an old man has no relish for, and this grieves him for other reasons than I have said, perhaps. HeI may say you-you remember, uncle, your sports as a little child. They would be to pleasure to you now, if you were to try them, that you know; and so perhaps you are pained as though you had lost some old and happy feelings by time's having changed your nature. But it is not so. As an old man, your soul is not of another kind, but only greater than it was when you used to clasp your mother's knees. There is no innocent happiness that a man ever grows strange to. You do not incline to bowl a hoop; but in showing little Arthur how to do it this morning, and in watching him, and walking after him, and now and then touching the hoop, I very much mistook appearances, if you were not quite as much delighted as the child.

Marham. So I was-that I was, good little fellow! derfully quick child, is not he?

Aubin. Very, and very good-tempered.

He is a won

Marham. Ay, he begged me to promise him another lesson to-morrow, which I did; and you must come and help. But running after little Arthur's hoop, I have got away from your line of argument; but it was you who started me.

Aubin. So it was; and I have seen that you delight in a hoop now

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