Though Fearful of Giving Offense.

IT is certainly very desirable that Christians should possess pleasant manners, a genial spirit, and all the nameless graces, which constitute an attractive deportment. They cannot too assiduously cultivate them, or mourn too deeply the so frequent want of them. Nor can it be denied that, in their efforts to do good, they should avoid giving needless offense. And yet, it seems to me, many persons make this fact a wretched excuse for their indolence or indifference in stimulating others or in bringing the truth to bear upon the minds of men.

"Did you try to persuade Mary Green to come to our prayer-meeting? She seems thoughtful, and you have so many opportunities of influencing her," says Sarah Brewerton to Louisa Dunn.

"No, I didn't," replied Louisa, "and I don't intend to do it either; it might give offense, and then I should do more harm than good." And yet this same Louisa did not hesitate, a fortnight before, to offend Jenny White by keeping a piece of music longer than was courteous. " Jenny will be hopping mad with me if I don't return this music today; but then she'll get over it, and the air is so lovely I must learn it thoroughly before I send it back," were her remarks upon the occasion.

"Mr. Steele, did you converse with Mr. Jones about his son, as you intended to do?" 

says a friend.

"No," replies Mr. Steele, "I concluded, after all, it would be better not to; it might offend Mr. Jones, and giving offense is no way to recommend the gospel." And yet Mr. Steele had no compunctions about making a bitter enemy of a neighbor by building barn in a situation to ruin his prospect and depreciate his property. "A man can't stop bettering his fortunes for every fellow who chooses to take a grudge," was his comment.

"Oh! Miss Harcourt! I am so glad to see you," said Edith Gray to a lady somewhat older than herself, but of whom she was very fond. "I want to try my new piano for you. I exchanged my old one for it, and paid a hundred dollars to boot. I have been learning the hymn, ' Nearer, my God, to thee.' Would you like to hear me sing it?"

"Very much," replied Miss Harcourt.

After conversing a while, Edith went to the piano and commenced singing. When she finished the first verse, Miss Harcourt turned to her in an earnest way, and said:

"Do you really want to live nearer to God, Edith?"

"Of course I do yes, indeed," replied Edith. She went on with the hymn. Just as she had sung the lines, 

"Steps up to Heaven, All that thou sendest me, In mercy given,"

the door opened, and in walked her sister Milly, a child about seven years of age, with a parcel in her hand, through which peeped a blue ribbon.

"O Milly!" exclaimed Edith, turning quickly round, " you have got my new sash; you naughty girl, why did you touch it?"

"I brought it in for Miss Harcourt to look at," said Milly.

"A good excuse," said Edith; "but you mustn't take my things again, Milly now, remember. It is a lovely shade, Miss Harcourt, is it not?" she continued, turning to that lady. "Aunt Fanny sent it to me for the assemblies. It was so kind of her, for I have been out so much this winter, my things are just as shabby as can be."

"Are the assemblies very pleasant?" asked Miss Harcourt.

"Charming this year," replied Edith. "I am on the go all the time."

"Do you find them 'steps up to Heaven'?" asked Miss Harcourt.

"Why, n-o, I can't say I do exactly," replied Edith, blushing and looking very much confused.  Miss Harcourt saw that her remark had made an impression, and concluded to let it take root without adding anything more. So she rose, saying: "I must really go, Edith; I have an engagement."

When she had taken leave, Edith returned to close the piano. "I suppose Miss Harcourt don't approve of my gay life," she said to herself. "Well, it does seem absurd to sing,' Nearer to God' and lead the life I do. But parties are so fascinating. I must go to one more at any rate, for Aunt Fanny will be awfully offended if I don't, after she has sent me a sash and gloves."

"Stop now. Choose ye this day whom you will serve," pleaded conscience. After a hard struggle with herself, Edith resolved to amend, and retired to her room to pray for strength to remain firm to her purpose. 

It was difficult to resist the entreaties of her friends, but she came off victorious.  About three months after this, two ladies were walking together from church, when one of them said: "What has come over Edith Gray? She seems so much more in earnest than she used to be. She has resumed her Sunday-school class, and shows great improvement in every way." Now, if Miss Harcourt had been so afraid of giving offense, as many seem to be, how different might have been the result! In many things we offend all. Let us set a watch at the door of our lips that we offend not in word; but oh! Do not let us cloak our luke warmness in the cause of Christ with the specious plea: “We fear to give-offense." 

Christian at Work.


Why should you fear the truth to tell?

Does falsehood ever do so well?

Can you be satisfied to know

There's something wrong to hide below?

No; let your fault be what it may,

To own it is the better way.