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MOODY MINDS AND SUNNY SPIRITS.
THERE are moody-minded Christians, naturally and habitually desponding. Bodily afflictions and worldly trials bow them down. Though true disciples of Christ, they are under the bondage of darkness and fear. With them joy is only an occasional visitor, sorrow a constant companion. The blue heavens and the beauties of creation neither charm their senses nor soften their souls. The world is regarded by them too literally as a “wastehowling wilderness," and mankind as moths fluttering round a lighted taper, or as thoughtless beings sporting on the edge of a fearful precipice. They seem to think that man's mission is to mourn over his transgressions, to ponder on the judgments of the Lord, and to alarm their fellow-sinners of the wrath that is to come. They too frequently pass by what is encouraging in God's holy word, and pore and ponder over the darker dispensations of the Almighty. Many are the men of this description, and such a man was Amos Dow.
There are sunny-spirited followers of the Redeemer, who are ever disposed, with sparkling eyes and beating hearts, to rejoice in God's word and God's works. Wherever they are, a sense of goodness and mercy is with them. Revelation and creation both minister to their joy, for in both, to them, the same Almighty hand is visible. They see, or think they see, in the sunny glow, the blooming flower, and the sparkling stream, the beauty of love, the reflected smile of their indulgent Heavenly Father. The timbrel is ever in their hands, and the burden of their song is, “O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation:" Ps. xcv. 1. Men of this cast are sometimes seen, and such a man was Urban Lee.
The meeting of two such men seemed hardly desirable; for what sympathy could there be between them? What qualities could attract them, or what links bind them together? They did, however, meet, and at first, as might have been expected, one shrunk from the other, as a needle recoils from the opposing end of the magnet: Amos considering the joyousness of Urban as inconsistent with the deep solemnity of holy things, and Urban regarding the gloom of Amos as an unamiable exhibition of the Christian character.
Wondrous are the workings of the human mind and the influence of Christian principle over human affections ! Both Amos and Urban, different as they were in other respects, had much of that Christian charity which “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things;" so that, when they again met, the exercise of this grace led them to regard each other with more forbearance. Amos now soon discovered that Urban was not the light, surface-character which he had taken him to be, but that his soul magnified the Lord, and truly rejoiced in God his Saviour. Nor was Urban Lee slow to perceive that the habitual gloom of Amos Dow arose not from discontent, or a bad temper, but from a godly sorrow for sin and a deep conviction of his own unworthiness.
But not only did Amos and Urban do each other justice; they began, also, to take themselves to task for not possessing the qualities they could not but estimate in each other. The spirit of thankfulness which Amos saw in Urban reproved his own despondency, so that he fervently sought at the throne of grace that the language of his heart might be, “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good : for his mercy endureth forever:” Ps. cxxxvi. 1. The advantage on the part of Urban was equally great; for, feeling that he could lay no claim to that deep abhorrence of sin and jealous watchfulness over himself which was so strikingly set forth by Amos, he became anxious to profit by the example set before him. He began to inquire of himself whether his habitual cheerfulness was a mere animal impulse, or an emanation of true thankfulness to his loving Lord.
Christians of the most opposite characters may greatly benefit each other, by avoiding each other's failings and striving after each other's graces. It was so in the friendship of Amos and Urban. Had the secret thoughts of the heart of Amos been made known in words, they might have been expressed in the following manner:
“How is it, after partaking of so many mercies, that I have been satisfied in praying to God without praising him? How is it that for so many years I should have been blind to the grace of thankfulness? The language of David was, 'I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart: Ps. ix.l; and here is this Urban always rejoicing, while I am always mourning. I am guilty in this thing; truly I have sinned against the Lord.” And then
prayer, “ Make me more thankful for the hope that is in me, through Christ. Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy
“ Have a care,
The reflections of Urban Lee, though of a different kind, were not less profitable. Urban,” thought he to himself, “lest you mistake your cheerful disposition for God's grace. Rejoice with trembling. Mark the humiliation of mind, the godly fear, the heart-searching integrity, of Amos Dow, and let it lead you to more watchfulness and care." Thus was Urban humbled with a sense of his inferiority, as a Christian made more
grateful for his mercies, and rendered more desirous to be found faithful in his heavenly calling.
Thus established in each other's regard, every day Amos and Urban became more united in Christian fellowship, and more truly serviceable to each other: Urban shedding a sunbeam of cheerfulness on the moody mind of Amos Dow, and the latter imparting a deeper tone of piety to the sunny spirit of Urban Lee.
Christians, expect not, hope not, desire not, your fellow-pilgrims to be the counterparts of yourselves. He who, rich in mercy, has called so great a variety of men to be fellow-partakers of the gospel of Christ and fellow-heirs of the kingdom of heaven, can so move the hearts of his people that their different graces shall be for each other's good and his glory. Go on your way, then, not only loving your gracious Lord, but also loving one another; bearing each other's burdens, forgiving each other's trespasses, avoiding each other's faults, and emulating each