« PreviousContinue »
works of which she speaks are illustrations of a principle or a spirit-nothing more. I am sure that I am speaking her mind when I say that it is possible to try to do too much. There must be quiet times in the history of all of us if we are to recover the image of God, or if we are to help others to recover it-times appropriated to solitary religious thought, to intellectual culture—yes, and times appropriated to amusement and rest. All our waking hours should not be wasted in work. If the tree of human life is to bear "twelve manner of fruits" and to yield its fruit "every month," it must be covered with blossoms as well as with fruit all the year round.
But I imagine that there are many families in which the strenuous and fervent appeals of the author are much more needed than these cautions of my own. The transition from the regulated life of school to the free life of home, is for most girls a severe test, both of their good sense and their loyalty to conscience. Till now, every hour had brought its definite
occupation. There was no possibility of mistaking at any moment, what was the immediate duty. To live by rule is admirable. It places us beyond the reach of a thousand temptations to indolence, reverie, wilfulness, and folly. When the external restraint is lost, it must be replaced by voluntary submission to a rule which is self-imposed, or else our days will all be likely to run to waste. But to a girl at home it is hard to construct and to obey a rule of life. She has no right to attempt to make her rule inflexible. There are claims which she cannot decline, interruptions to her scheme of living which she ought to accept with cheerfulness; and to many persons a rule which is necessarily flexible soon becomes no rule at all. An ideal of conduct that touches the imagination as well as commands the conscience, stirs the heart as well as satisfies the judgment, may redeem the life from desultoriness and failure.
In these pages, as I have already said, the writer has endeavoured to present the outlines of such an ideal-has striven to show the
opportunities of serving Christ which lie very near to girls whose circumstances may seem to themselves very common-place and uninteresting; and I trust that many of her readers will catch the fire of her zeal, and discover what joy and strength will come from a loyal endeavour to do the will by imitating the example of Him who went about doing good.
R. W. DALE.
BIRMINGHAM, June 14, 1878.