Emily Bathurst; or, at Home and Abroad
Many young persons agree with Emily, respecting the difficulties which lie in the way of doing right. The fact is, we have always three enemies to contend with,—the world, the Evil One, and our own hearts. But since we are pledged to be soldiers of Christ, and to fight manfully against these enemies, how could we fulfil our promises were the battle to cease? Suppose we wish to keep our baptismal promises, and to conquer our foes; we shall find that they resist our most strenuous efforts, especially at first. When destroyed under one form, the enemy takes another. For every head cut off another springs up. Do we wish to give up the world? We are disposed to rush into the opposite extreme of despising the opinions of others, forgetting that thus we offend against the law of love, which would prevent our putting an occasion of falling in our brother's page 178way. Are we aware of the temptations of Satan with regard to love of dress, or vanity as to appearance? The next temptation will be, to indulge pride by affected singularity. Have we discovered the duty of self-denial, in order that we may assist others? We are induced to think more of the claims of the poor than of those persons who form our immediate circle, and we are ready to make great sacrifices for the former, while we forget the duty of making those smaller sacrifices on which depends so much of the happiness of domestic life. Let none, however, be discouraged by these difficulties. They should only serve to increase humility. If we do but doubt ourselves, we shall be led to lean more for aid on Him who has promised that if we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will direct our paths. There is nothing too small to bring to God in humble believing prayer. When we consider the greatness and majesty of the High and Holy One who inhabits eternity, we might well sup-page 179pose that the most important concerns of this corner of His immense creation were far beneath His notice, and surely those must have formed a very erroneous estimate of the immeasurable distance between God and man, who suppose that He feels the material difference that we do between our greatest and most trivial concerns. Yet does He encourage us in the most condescending and gracious manner, to bring to Him everything that affects our happiness and well-being. What can be more trifling in our eyes than a single hair, which, if it falls from our heads, we throw regardlessly away? Yet does the Word of God say, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered." The invisible and yet animated atom that floats on the sunbeam is called into existence by His power, nor does it die without His will, and if the food of the birds and the clothing of the flowers are under His superintendence, who dare assert that He cares not for the daily temporal necessities of man? The remark-page 180able account given in Isa. iii. 18–23"88", of the dress of the females of Israel, would certainly tend to prove that, incomprehensible as it may be, there is nothing too small for God to regard; and this thought must be as comforting to those who seek to love and serve Him, as it is appalling to those who still continue to live for themselves alone.
The sketch of Emily is slight and imperfect. We leave her quite a beginner in the Christian course. Her character presents one interesting peculiarity. The moment a duty was pointed out to her she strove to fulfil it: doubtless such a character would be led on step by step, till she became all that a Christian ought to be.
Should this little account of her induce any young person in similar circumstances to pause and consider, "Am I, too, living for myself, or am I striving to fulfil the ends for which I was sent into the world?" or should the conversations here detailed cause one individual to take interest in the work of Missions, they will not have been written in vain.
88 Isaiah 3:18-23 “In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.”