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you to associate with profligate or openly irreligious men. Make this an absolute rule. It is impossible not to suffer by its neglect. If you do not fall into their vices, still your heart will be estranged from the love of God.
But, in escaping the snares which vain and vicious pleasure spreads for the soul, you will be assailed by those of a different tendency. I need not warn you against covetousness; that is not in your nature; but the business of your profession, and the pursuits of honourable ambition, will bring with them their temptations. It is impossible for you to escape the world ; you must therefore arm yourself against it. God's will has called you to a dangerous post. You will be thrown amidst scenes of daily turmoil, which, if not guarded against, will of necessity form a serious drawback to holy thoughts. You must therefore bear about with you that which will preserve you in the midst of a polluted atmosphere. You must cherish in your heart an abiding faith in divine truth. This is the only talisman and safeguard.
Allow me to hope that you will not be offended if I write to you more at large on this important subject. I have a deep interest in your welfare, both from personal regard, and also for the Church's sake. I believe that your principles and talents are such as God intends to work by in the coming fortunes of the Church. But if no such portion awaits you, if you should pass your time in a private station, or even be cut off in the midst of your days, still it is the same holy principle which alone can give you peace. This open grave has received the remains of one who, in humble station, has served his God, and bequeathed to those after him the most precious inheritance, even the blessing which God bestows on the children of his servants. And now we trust he is greater than kings and princes; he ranks with the noblest and the wisest. We must not despise a lowly path if it lead heavenwards. Nor must we repine, even if, in the full career of usefulness and activity, God should call us hence. It may be that we shall be suddenly stricken down in the midst of our days, and borne on the shoulders of others to our long home. Let us remember always, my dear friend, that in the midst of life we are in death,” and that the same principle is our only preparation for both. If we have but an abiding faith in our hearts, then “ whether we live we shall live unto the Lord, or whether we die we shall die unto the Lord.”
The earnest and affectionate solemnity of Herbert's words, so accordant with the incidents which they had just witnessed—the sacredness of the scene—the moon just rising behind the ancient tower, and tinging with its light the tombs around them all these left a deep impression on Ridley's somewhat excited feelingsan impression which never afterwards was effaced from his memory.
Before retiring to rest that night, Arthur Ridley recalled before his mind all the admonitions of his friend, and falling on his knees, besought God to enable him to abide in the firm resolution which he then made to serve Him. And as he humbly and solemnly devoted his life to God's service, his vow, accompanied with deep and earnest prayer, was not unheard in heaven.
6. Thus while the storm is high within
Soon after his arrival in town, Ridley received the following letter from his friend.
My dear Arthur, I promised to send you my thoughts respecting the manner in which a member of the Church will most safely steer his course through this troublesome world. This letter is in part a fulfilment of my promise, much however will remain to be said at some future time.
There can be no difference of opinion
amongst Christians on one point, namely, that a firm faith-that is a persuasion of the truths revealed in the blessed Gospel, a sincere acceptance of Christ as our Saviour, and of His laws as our rule of life—is the first principle of religion. But you want to know the means of keeping up this faith, and preserving in your heart this divine principle. To tell you to have faith or love to God—to be godly and pious, you would naturally say, is not enough; any more than it would be enough to tell you that if you wish to be a good lawyer, you must be able and acute, and have tact and presence of mind. The question is how to acquire and cherish and improve these qualities.
My first advice, and that on which I shall dwell in the present letter, is simply this to follow the guidance of the Church.
Christians of the present day sadly overlook the value of this means of grace. They tell you that Scripture must be your standard of faith, Scripture your rule of conduct—and who denies it? But what I wish to impress on you is, that God has given us His holy Church to instruct us in the sound knowledge of Scripture, and guide our steps according to His revealed will. The Church teaches us how to carry out into