« ForrigeFortsett »
Chinese edict, issued as lately as the 25th April, 1835, authorizes us in this conclusion. “The heavens,” says the Kwang-chowfoo-Pwan, “have not for a long time sent down rain; drought is complete; prayer and supplication are without effect, and all hearts are dried up with a burning grief. Within the boundaries of Kwang-tung is there not one extraordinary man, one wonderful scholar, able to drive away that Dragon, and bring rain down from heaven?"
As amongst this people to pray for rain or fair weather with so much sincerity as to move heaven to grant the petition, constitutes 10,000 degrees of merit, and as worship is promised to the party advertised for in the edict, their extraordinary men and wonderful scholars can be but few removes from divinity itself.
This reverence of certain constellations, may be assigned as one reason why Balaam, when he went to seek enchantments, or more literally to the meeting of Nachashim, or serpents, should adjourn to a “high place,” where the worship of the heavenly host was usually celebrated. Was it not for the purpose of reading in the starry skies the destinies of the chosen people ? And is it not more than probable that his mind dwelt upon the aspects and influences of those heavenly bodies with which he had just been holding “dark communion," when he spake, in his prophetic fury, of the bright and morning “STAR” that was to arise out of Jacob, and enlighten the gross darkness of a world lying in the wicked one?
Thus, in the “elder scripture” of the heavens, the traditions of the nether world appear to have been registered; and the same ideas which agitated the bosoms of its universal population, to have been as clearly legible in the ample and recording tablet of the skies. The grand victory to be achieved over the Power of Darkness by the Promised Seed, reflected in the Chreeshna Triumphant of India ; the Ormudz exulting over Ahrimanes of the Persians; and the Hercules defeating the subtle guardian of the golden apples; had its record in “ the bright leaves of heaven," no less than in the paintings, sculptures, and peculiar forms of architecture, which prevailed among the nations of antiquity.
THE CONTRAST. ONE Sunday morning, fair and bright, when the schools were preparing for church, and the bells were chiming us to come, it chanced to one of us in the country lanes to meet two young men: strong they seemed, but not industrious (for their clothes were torn, and idleness does that, and not industry,) and they were loitering along, with stones in their hands, till they came to some trees, when their attention was drawn to the birds, whose song was sweet and clear, as though they knew it to be their Maker's day, and would “sing their Maker's
But far other influence was on the minds of these young men, and many a throw was made, and many a loud laugh shouted as the morning hymn of the little songsters was silenced, and the choir flcd away: till the opportunity for a kind word to them came, and the question at last was plainly put, “ Are you happy-as happy now as you once were, when the Sunday morning brought the Sunday hymn, and that church bell was no dead sound to you? Are you happy ?”
Oh, no, Sir!” was the quick reply, “a long way off that!" and then the hand was seen slowly to drop the stones, and the remonstrance continued; and sorrowing excuse was offered, that no man—no minister—seemed to care for them, and they had thus forgotten to care for themselves.
Sin keeps no Sabbath, and we should give no rest to our zeal and efforts to recover these unhappy wanderers.
Contrast with this, youthful readers, the pleasant fruit of one cottage-lecture brought into a poor man's family, almost against his will, by one of the faithful and devoted men whom we want you to aid us in supporting amongst our poor. Week after week, as the evening for the lecture returned, the old father took his seat behind the clergyman, and as soon as the lecture commenced, he slipped off his shoes, and went up-stairs to bed. Others might hear, but not he. At last sickness entered the cottage : his son was ill, then his daughter. The new pastor hastened to the sick of the flock. The daughter recovered ; but the son died. Then the old man fell sick; he, too, recovered, but the pastor's sympathy in sorrow was not without its fruit, and now the old man's place at the cottage-lecture was not behind his minister, but on the form in front; and where he was seen at the beginning, there he continued till the end of it.
The daughter was taken ill again-and this sickness was unto death ; and what were the words with which the dying girl told out her hopes in death to that rejoicing minister ? At first she had been so careless that she had seldom made her appearance at that cottage-lecture, but after her brother's death she did come, and then she attended the Sunday school and the church; and then she, and her poor mother too, were seen at the Lord's table, and she became a teacher at the school : and now, lo! on her dying bed, her fellow-teachers have come to her, and as they show their sorrow, these were her words: “Don't cry for me; the Lord is my Shepherd! therefore I shall want nothing. I am going to Jesus! No more factory-work there: no more cold and nakedness: no more clamming:" (hunger) and then, turning to her minister, and referring to that cottage-lecture, begun and carried on in so much neglect and discouragement, she added, “I thank God, sir, that you were sent into my father's house!” In half an hour she was in eternity !-- Address of Pastoral Aid Society.
(See the Vignette.) ALMOST every one, we presume, has heard of Petra so well described by Laborde and later writers. Our vignette gives a general view of this rock-hewn city, taken from the vicinity of its ruined amphitheatre thus graphically noticed by Mr. Bartlett.
After describing one of the narrow ravines of this wonderful place, he says, “Still widening and opening gradually, the rocky valley making a bend to the left, suddenly displays another of the more striking monuments of Petra—the theatre. The whole is carved out of the side of the valley : there are thirty-three ranges of seats, which are in a very tolerable state of preservation : there are also several niches, looking like boxes, in the wall above. The scena, built up below, has fallen in, and opened a view of the wild brook, murmuring through tangled tufts of oleanders at its foot, and passing out below to traverse the city. The theatre may be said to be literally surrounded on all sides by alleys and staircases hewn in the rock, by which access is given to the precipices above, all hollowed into chambers: from these again, other flights of steps, broken and difficult to follow or trace, lead higher and higher into remote nooks and corners hidden from beneath, but still carved into sepulchres, if, indeed, they can be so regarded."-Scripture Sites and Scenes.
THE OPEN DOOR,
OR, WHAT JOHN SAW.
(From “ Lessons for Infant Classes.")* The other day I was reading about a little German boy whose name was Christian. His parents were very poor, and lived in one small room; there was no garden for Christian to play in ; his chief amusement was to take his stool on to the leads outside the window, and watch the people in the street, and the birds in the air as they spread their bright wings in the sunshine and flew away to their nests. Close to where Christian sat, there was a very high wall, and on the other side there lived a rich Jew and his little daughter. Christian had often heard his father tell of this beautiful garden, and many times he listened to the merry laugh of the little girl who played there amongst the fruits and flowers. Christian did not know much; he had been told of God who made him, and he thought that this sweet garden must be heaven.
Little children who have many pleasures, cannot think how anxious Christian was to look into the Jew's garden; he pulled away the mortar round one brick, until after great difficulty it was loose, and he could put it in and out. Oh, what joy it was when he took the first peep in that garden. He could not speak for pleasure. It seemed indeed like heaven; the beautiful trees, the flowers, the fruit, all were so lovely, and the little girl was like a bright angel playing there with the sunshine on her head. Every day Christian sat and watched her, and the garden was in his thoughts and dreams by day and night, but he could not
Another of Mr. Green's ‘Sunday School Library' Volumes--worthy of the two which have preceded it.
go in. He longed to walk there; and he wished he was a bird to build his nest in one of those tall trees so near the sky.
When I read about Christian, I thought of the door which Jesus has opened into the real heaven ; and I wish to tell you, dear children, how happy the apostle John was when he was allowed, not only to look in and see the glorious things afar off, but to pass through that door and stand in that blessed place. John was the disciple who loved the Saviour so tenderly, and leaned upon
his bosom. He stood behind the cross when all the others fled, and he took care of Mary after Jesus was dead, and was gentle as a son to her. When the Saviour was gone back to heaven, John went with the other disciples from one country to another, spreading the good news of a Saviour, and trying to persuade the people to worship the Lord instead of their idol gods. The kings and rulers were very angry: they killed some of the disciples, and John was banished, that is, he was ordered to leave his own country, and sent to live in a desert island called Patmos. There he was far from his friends, with no one to speak to him and help him; yet in this dreary desert he was happy, because he was not alone. His Såviour was very near, and he comforted him, and
If we love God, dear children, we are never alone, and we need not be afraid.
One sabbath day when John was trying to worship God, he had a vision. Some one spoke to him in that lonely island; it was the Sa
r's voice, and when he looked he saw an open door. It was the door of heaven. What do you think was there ? might John tell us? Yes, an angel came to take him in to that glorious place, and he allowed him to write in a book the things he saw, that we might know a little what heaven is like. We cannot go in as John did, but we may come near to the open door, and wait till Jesus calls us by our names and bids us enter; then if we have tried to please him on earth he will make us happy for ever in heaven. What did John see? A throne: that is a place where kings sit. Solomon had a throne, it was made of ivory and covered with gold; there were six steps to go up to it, on each side of the steps were figures of large lions. It was the most splendid throne ever made for a king, but it was not at all so glorious as the throne John saw in heaven. But he did not look long at it; his eye was fixed on one who was seated