I sat down in my arm-chair, weary with my work; my toil had been severe and protracted. The church wore an aspect of thrift and prosperity; and joy and hope and courage were the prevailing sentiments on every hand. As for myself, I was joyous in my work; my brethren were united; my sermons and exhortations were evidently telling on my hearers; my church was crowded with listeners; the whole community was more or less moved with the prevailing excitement; and so the work went on. I had been led into exhausting labors for its promotion.
Tired with my work, I soon lost myself in a sort of half forgetful state, though I seemed fully aware of my place and surroundings. Seemingly a stranger entered the room, without any preliminary tap, or "Come in." I saw in his face benignity, intelligence and weight of character; but though he was passably well attired, he carried suspended about his person measures and chemical agents and implements, which gave him a very strange appearance.
The stranger came toward me, and extending his hand said, "How is your zeal?"
I supposed, when he began his question, that the query was to be for my health; but was pleased to hear his final word; for I was quite well pleased with my zeal, and doubted not the stranger would smile when he should know its proportions. Instinctively I conceived of it as a physical quantity, and putting my hand into my bosom, brought it forth and presented it to him for inspection.
He took it, and placing it in his scale, weighed it carefully. I heard him say, "One hundred pounds!"
I could scarce suppress an audible note of satisfaction; but I caught his earnest look as he noted down the weight; and I saw at once that he had drawn no final conclusion, but was intent on pushing his investigation.
He broke the mass to atoms, put it in his crucible, and put the crucible into the fire. When the mass was thoroughly fused, he took it out, and set it down to cool. It congealed in cooling, and when turned out on the hearth, exhibited a series of layers or strata; which all at the touch of the hammer fell apart, and were severally tested and weighed; the stranger making minute notes, as the process went on.
When he had finished, he presented the notes to me, and gave me a look of mingled sorrow and compassion, as, without a word, except, "May God save you!" he left the room.
I opened the note and read as follows:
"Analysis of the zeal of Junius, a candidate for a crown of glory: weight, in mass, 100 lbs., of which, on analysis, there proves to be, viz.:-- Bigotry 10 parts. Personal ambition 23 " Pride of talent 14 " Love of praise 19 " Pride of denomination 15 " Love of authority 12 " Love of God 4 " Love of man 3 "
I had become troubled at the peculiar manner of the stranger, and especially, at his parting look and words; but when I looked at the figures my heart sank as lead within me. I made a mental effort to dispute the correctness of the record, but was suddenly startled into a more honest mood by an audible sigh, almost a groan, from the stranger, who had paused in the hall, and by a sudden darkness falling upon me, by which the record became at once obscured and nearly illegible. I suddenly cried out, "Lord, save me!"
I knelt down at my chair, with the paper in my hand, and my eyes fixed upon it. At once it became a mirror, and I saw my heart reflected in it:--The record is true!--I saw it; I felt it; I confessed it; I deplored it; and I besought God, with many tears, to save me from myself: and, at length, with a loud and irrepressible cry of anguish, I awoke.--Selected.
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Since all of God's consecrated saints are his ambassadors, ministers of his truth, and members of the royal priesthood, this allegory may be of profit to all. Love of God and love of our fellow-men are the only elements of real zeal in the above analysis. All the other parts are detestable dross in God's sight and will be in ours, as we take God's standpoint of criticism. Let each servant who desires to stand approved of God, examine his own heart, analyze his own zeal, his own motives.