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of this the father is informed by the next mail. The report, however, while uncontradicted, had the same effect that it would have had if true ;—and the father's feeling towards his son were as apparent and as commendable as they would have been had there been no mistake in the case.
Should it be said that this case cannot illustrate the effect of divine truth on the mind of a good man, I may ask, why not? The report was indeed of an historic nature; but the same may be said of many of the important truths of the gospel. It was so with the glad tidings of the birth of the Messiah; and such were the truths relating to his baptism, his ministry, his miracles, his death, his resurrection and ascension. Historical truths, therefore, may be divine truths of the first importance.
4. When any person makes his own heart or experience a test, by which to judge of the truth or falsehood of a particular doctrine, he assumes more than can be easily reconciled to Christian humility. For he assumes for a fact that he is not, like other men, liable to be misled by false information, by the ambiguity of words or phrases, by passion, nor by prejudice-in a word, that his mind is so enlightened and his heart so pure, that he is far less liable to err than any one of the multitude of people who dissent from his opinions.
Were there no other way to account for the pleasure which a good man feels in hearing a certain doctrine, but its truth, there would be less of danger in his making his heart a test of truth than now ex
ists. But even in that case, his delight could be proof only to himself, unless others could know the state of his heart. Could it be shown that a good man's heart is an infallible test of truth, and could a man be found whose goodness would be universally acknowledged, then whatever creed he should approve might be safely adopted, and made a test by which to estimate the hearts of his fellow-men. But where shall such a man be found ? Should any one propose himself for such a purpose, might not his humility be justly called in question ? Yet what better than such arrogance is seen in any man who makes his own heart the test of truth, and his own creed the standard by which to estimate the moral worth of his fellow-men ?
I have not a doubt that thousands of pious Catholics have found great delight in the doctrine of transubstantiation, while partaking of the bread and wine in the Lord's
supper. But their delight results from a belief that the doctrine is true, and not from the truth of the doctrine. So good people of each sect may find pleasure in their respective doctrines, from a belief that they are true, honorable to God, and useful to man. Such pleasure in a doctrine may
be a proof that it is sincerely believed to be true, but not a proof of its truth or correctness.
LET TER XIII.
THE DISREGARDED PARABLE.
My Christian Brethren,
The Gospel contains one parable which seems to me to have been very much overlooked or disregarded. I shall copy the parable according to Newcombe's translation. “Then he spake a parable to those that were invited, when he marked how they chose out of the chief places ; saying unto them, When thou art invited by any man to a marriage feast, take not the chief place ; lest a more honorable man than thou be invited by him; and he that invited thee and him come, and say to thee, Give place to this man; and then thou begin to take the lowest place with shame. But when thou art invited, go and take the lowest place; that, when he who invited thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher. Then thou wilt have honor in the presence of those that are at meat with thee. For every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled ; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke xiv, 7-10.
On three different occasions our Lord uttered the words with which this parable is closed. The parable of the Pharisee and Publican is closed in the same manner ; and the same words were also used when the Messiah cautioned his disciples against
imitating the arrogance of the Pharisees, who loved the uppermost rooms at feasts, the chief seats in the synagogues, and to be called of men Rabbi, Rabbi. The reason which he gave for the caution was this, “For every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” We may therefore feel assured that these words contain a lesson of great importance, and that the parable which has been quoted, and so often disregarded, was uttered by our Lord for a higher purpose than merely to teach his disciples a principle of politeness, or how they should conduct at common marriage feasts. More than once he represented the Gospel message as an invitation to a marriage feast, or great supper.
Nor can it be doubted that by the parable it was his purpose to teach his disciples a lesson of gospel humility, and to beware of indulging an undue self-esteem in comparing themselves with others. He well knew how prone men are to overrate their own moral worth, and to mistake or undervalue the characters of those who dissent from their views.
This admonitory parable is worthy to be regarded by different sects of Christians, as well as by individuals of the same sect. Those who are well acquainted with the present state of things in our own country must be aware, that persons of more than one sect are eager for the higher places, and assume them with very little ceremony. Nor are there wanting persons who seem disposed to assume the authority of the Master of the Gospel feast, and
to exclude from any place at their Lord's table such as cannot acquiesce in their party creeds. Of the many who claim the higher places, some of them must be disappointed when the King shall come in to view the guests, and assign to each his rank. They cannot all possess the places which they have claimed; and how, on that occasion, will those feel who shall be ordered to “ go down lower” and "give place” perhaps to thousands who are now by them despised as unworthy of any place in the family of Christ. In this way will probably be fulfilled or verified another admonitory remark of our Lord :
-“ Many that are first shall be last, and the last shall first." Those who are now first in self-esteem have reason to fear and tremble. one that exalteth himself shall be abased ; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
What intelligent and good person does not know that men are very liable to err in estimating their own characters, and in comparing them with the characters of others ? And since our Lord has given us such solemn and repeated admonitions on this very subject, is it not surprising that so many of different sects are to be found, who unblushingly assume the higher places; and who practically, if not verbally, say that they are much better than any who dissent from their opinions? If this be not exalting themselves, I know of nothing in human conduct to which the admonitory parable will apply.
Is it not too common to see in the writings of partizans of different sects, not merely rash censures of