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174
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
every condition of society. In savage and bar­barous tribes, it is sometimes obscured and often perverted. But in general, it is a sure guide, and, being written by the finger of God on every man's heart, is a universal law. There is, however, a disposition in mankind to throw off the obligations of this law : or, in other words, to neglect the dictates of conscience. This is the fact even among Christians, in the midst of religious institutions, and the effort is often successful. Rut if this be the case where the light of revelation is shining, how much more likely are those who live in the darkness of heathenism to succeed in quenching the spi­rit of truth that is within them. At the time Christ appeared to preach the gospel in Judea, nearly the whole world had succeeded in put­ting out the light of conscience. For the law of benevolence, mankind had substituted the law of retaliation. The fashionable doctrine was, " an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." It was in the midst of this pervading darkness that Christ announced the beautiful rule of ac­tion, " Do to another as ye would have another do to you." " Love your enemies," said he, '''' and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you."
There was a sublimity in all this, which, to
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