SOME PEOPLE WHO WERE FALSE FRIENDS.
Did a woman ever start out, I wonder, with the spirit of turmoil and unrest about her, that she did not find helpers? Especially if she be one of a large congregation she comes in contact with some heedless ones—some malicious ones—some who are led into mischief by their undisciplined tongues—some who have personal grievances. And there are always some people in every community who stand all ready to be led by the last brain with which they come in contact; or, if not that, they are sure to think exactly as Dr. Jones and Judge Tinker and Prof. Bolus do, without reason as to why or wherefore. This class is very easily managed. A little care, a judicious repetition of a sentence which fell from the doctor’s or the judge’s or the professor’s lips, and which might have meant anything or nothing, by the slightest possible changes of emphasis, can be made to mean a little or a great deal. It wasn’t slow work either—not half so slow as it would have been to attempt the building up of someone’s reputation; by reason of the law of gravitation the natural tendency is downward, so prevalent in human nature, and by reason of the intense delight which that wise and wily helper, Satan, has in a fuss of any sort. Do Mrs. Dr. Matthews the justice of understanding that she didn’t in the least comprehend what she was about; that is, not the magnitude of it. She only knew that she had been stung, either by her conscience or else by Dr. Selmser. She chose to think it was Dr. Selmser, and she felt like repaying him for it. He should be made to understand that people wouldn’t bear everything; that he must just learn to be a little more careful about what he said and did. “Take heed what ye do; let the fear of the Lord be upon you.” Yes, she heard the text, and was thinking of her party all the time. Did she think that certain things which occurred in her parlours on that evening were not in accordance with the text? Then did she think to blot out the text by showing her ability to stir up a commotion? What do such people think, anyway?
There came a day when even Mrs. Dr. Matthews herself stood aghast over what had been done, and didn’t more than half recognise her hand in the matter, so many helpers she had found—non-temperance men, men of antagonistic political views, men who winced at the narrowness of the line drawn by their pastor—a line that shut out the very breath of dishonesty from the true Church of Christ—men and women who were honest and earnest and petty—who were not called on enough, or bowed to enough, or consulted enough, or ten thousand other pettinesses, too small or too mean to be advanced as excuses, and so were hidden behind the general and vague one that, on the whole, Dr. Selmser didn’t seem to “draw;” the “young people” thought him severe or solemn or something; his sermons were not “just the thing—did not quite come up to the standard,” whatever that may mean.