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have been involved by it; and the sore repentance deepest degradation, to be unable to control them. which, on one account or other, it always costs us." The Christian who supposes that there are sins
But bad temper will never be conquered till it is which the Holy Ghost cannot enable him to subdue, felt to be a sin—a sin which every Christian man is dishonours “the exceeding greatness of that power, bound to repent of and to forsake. It is not difficult which worketh in all that believe.
There is no to persuade people to acknowledge this in general sin for which Christ atoned from which He cannot terms, but the acknowledgment is vitiated by ex
deliver us. There is no sin which He can pardon cuses which show that the guilt is not honestly which He cannot give us strength to overcome. If recognised. No man ever thinks of defending him there were fetters He could not break, diseases He self against the charge of dishonesty or falsehood, could not heal, our trust in Him as our Saviour by pleading that his proneness to the sin diminishes would be gone. his responsibility ; but proneness to violent and Let men consider what they are saying when they angovernable anger is constantly urged as a pal. imply that a bad temper cannot be overcome. It hation of the offence. It is one of the most mis- | is not an isolated evil, a mere local affection which chievous characteristics of this sin, that it almost leaves the rest of the soul uninjured. By it we always claims to be the necessary result of peculi- are often betrayed into words and deeds most cruel arity of temperament. I have not unfrequently and unjust; by yielding to it, we inflict undeserved beard men speak of it as though it were a mere misery; it violates the laws of charity; it hinders physical infirmity; and as though we had no more communion with God; it often destroys our religious right to blame a man for his temper than for the usefulness. colour of his eyes, his complexion, or his hair. So long as this excuse is admitted, conscience is Nor should the angry man forget that the very silenced, and there can be no vigorous attempt to “temperament” which occasions his sin, and which reiorm.
he sometimes pleads in alleviation of his guilt, No doubt a man's physical constitution has very renders possible forms of excellence which are unmich to do with his temper. There are people to attainable by men whose blood is sluggish, and in whom it is no great credit to be gentle and kindly. whose souls no fire burns. Many of the very They are kept from violent passion, not by the noblest men that ever lived, had slumbering volcastrength of right principle, but by the sluggishness noes in them. The heat and impulse and veheand weakness of their pulse. But it is the business mence which when unrestrained hurry us into of man's reason and conscience to tame the way. harsh and unmeasured and violent language, bewardness of animal impulses, and to compel them come, when controlled, an element of invaluable to serve the soul. If temperament is to be an power. Rapture in worship, zeal in Christian work, escase for causeless and excessive anger, the glutton ardour in friendship, enthusiastic loyalty to a just and the drunkard may appeal to their physical con- and righteous cause-these are all possible to men stitution as an alleviation of their guilt, and many whose passions are impetuous. There is hardly of the foulest offences may take shelter under the any other sin which lies so near to great virtues. gane convenient plea. Even the moralist refuses to Let anger be mastered, and there is not only a great admit that the soul has any right to excuse its evil escaped, but the same force which wrought the "Tong-doing by alleging the strength of the lower former mischief
, gives inspiration and nobleness to passions; it is the soul's darkest curse as well as its the whole moral life.
R. W. DALE.
A NORTHERN DESERT.
NOTES OF A JOURNEY INTO ICELAND.
The central deserts of Iceland are unexplored. fearful wilderness; then the one great river Jökulsá, A man must be bold, and singularly favoured by which flows from its mysterious depths, is tinged weather, to investigate their mysterious recesses with volcanic ash, and swollen with melted snows; and to return with life. One region, part wild then, too, the night sky gleams scarlet over some tumbled snow and glacier mountains, part plains of invisited, unknown, yawning crater, which is pourbristling lava, is as unknown as the heart of Africa. ing forth its flood of molten rock. The glimmer of silver peaks has been seen from This sea of lava sweeps up to the roots of a chain afar, across an impassable arm of lava, the confines of snow mountains perfectly unexplored, themselves of the great sea of molten matter have been skirted, volcanoes ready to toss aside their mantles of white bat those billows of black ragged stone have never and spread destruction for miles round. been traversed even in the old adventuresome days To the west of this vast region of lava and snow, of Iceland. Sometimes violent shocks and a rising lies an upland desert of black sparkling sand, column of black cloud warn distant settlers that stretching completely across the island. This sand volcanic fires are still active in the heart of that is volcanic, and has been deposited during outbursts of the neighbouring mountains, when the clouds nected, landlocked ; some, quiet tarns of crystal rain down sand till the ground is covered many feet clear water, others winding among the hills, ruffled deep, and every particle of vegetation is destroyed. and tossed into angry waves by the cutting blasts I had an opportunity of observing a cutting made which howl over the waste. This wild region is by a stream in this district, and I found traces of utterly barren. The hills are bare, exposed stone, three several depositions of volcanic dust, the last broken into angular fragments, and torn into gullies as much as thirteen feet deep. Vegetation advances by the melting snows of spring. The elevated plains in Iceland with none of that rapidity with which are masses of splintered trap and black mud, into it covers the flanks of Vesuvius, and sand in Iceland which a horse will flounder to its belly. The dales is many hundreds of years old before it becomes are occasionally grey with moss, and partially clothed covered with a scanty growth of marram and moss with stunted willow. campion.
But every spring-thaw helps to destroy the little Part of this elevated tableland of desert is studded amount of vegetation which exists, as the icy water with countless lakes of all shapes and sizes, discon. I tears down the hill slopes and rips up the moss, or
bears away the sandy soil in which the willow their feathers. The swan is of only one species, the found root.
cygnus musicus : some naturalists have asserted that It must not be thought that a mossy, willowy another species is to be found in the island, but the bottom is common. You may travel all day without natives are very positive that one kind only visits coming to one, but a few do exist, known only to the island, and certainly amongst those which I saw, certain individuals who haunt the waste during the I noticed none but the Hoopers. Glorious, indeed, is summer, gathering the lichen islandicus, or seeking the note, shrill as a trumpet-call, uttered by this
This region bears some resemblance to the majestic bird, when the labours of incubation are Siberian tundras, but it is more barren. The tun- completed, and it sings its pean of triumph over its dras are moss-covered, and nourish herds of rein. fledglings. The swans generally are in pairs in a
but the “ heidis” of the centre of Iceland could lake : among these tarns it is rare to find more than not support any quadruped. For the most part one couple to each sheet of water. An attempt on this desert is devoid of living creatures, for birds the part of a second pair to intrude is resented as will not frequent spots where there is no vegetation. an intrusion, the swans regarding the lake, as an
Wherever a morass of moss, blaeberry, and Englishman regards his house-as a castle. But this willow is to be found, however, multitudes of wild is not the case always. I counted some eighteen fowl congregate. The lakes teem with red-fleshed swans on the great lake in the Vatnsdalr; but there Alpipe trout and magnificent char, and where the the sheet was extensive. Perhaps the reason of the fish are, there are to be found the swan and the tenacity of the swans on the Arnarvatn heidi to diver. Swaps breed in considerable numbers among their rights is the scarcity of provender, and they these lakes, unmolested except by a hardy native may be aware that what is enough for two, would who may venture into the wilds to shoot them for be starving for four.
Another bird frequenting these lakes, also in trembles timorously in the piercing blasts which couples, is the Great Northern Diver, a magnificent roll over the Jökulls, and yet bravely endures fellow in gorgeous metallic glitter of green and. them. I do not think the little flower bus as black, his wings and back sprinkled with white, cheerful a hne here as in the south. It seems and his breast of spotless purity. The size of the blanched with cold. The grass of Parpassus is also bird is great, his neck and head well-proportioned, to be found, but the little bullet heads are not yet the latter narrow and armed with a pointed dark- unfolded. On a southern slope of volcanic ash a coloured bill, and furnished with bright crimson scanty growth of creeping azalea may be discovered, eyes, like rubies. The diver is a heavy bird, and a and a few varieties of beath which I cannot clumsy walker ; but he flies well, though low, identify just uow, as they have not yet flowered.
rising when alarmed from his lone dark pool with in the marsh at the head of this tarn, in which my | a weird cry, mingled with gulping whoops, like the poor ponies are wading after the young willow-tops, 1. laughter of a fiend. The diver is a very powerful I find the bog whortle and the blaeberry, now | swinmer, and it is difficult for a boat to keep up comiug into flower (Vaccinium myrtillus, V. uligi
with him. He laughs at a storm, dancing like a nosum, V. vitis idæa), and I light upon a bunch of cork on the waters, plunging through the waves Bartsia alpina, its rich plum-coloured flowers just and appearing on the other side with a fish in beginning to open. On the lava rocks, especially his mouth, which he swallows with a toss of his when old, may be seen masses of pale Dryas head.
octopetala—a glorious flower, with its eight deIn the neighbourhood of the lakes where there is licate milky petals and its sunny eye. Nowhere | vegetation the wimbrel stands on his long legs, have I seen this plant in such perfection as in
uttering his wild sad cry, and seeming quite uncon Iceland; the blossoms are larger there than I ' cerned if yon present your gun. Have him we have seen in the Alps or the Pyrenees, but probi must, for we depend entirely for provisions in these ably the volcanic constituents of the rock on which
Fastes on what we shoot, and wimbrel, though it lives are those best suited for its development. !
stringy and tasteless, is not to be despised when We may find a few saxifrage also, but they are Little else is to be got. Ah! we have disturbed a more plentiful elsewhere than upon this desert. corey of ptarmigan. They looked like grey stones, Howeve the Saxifraga hirculus, S. aizoides, S. nicrouching so unconcernedly on the ground as we valis, S. hypoiles, S. cæspitosa, and S. tridactymade by. But the ptarmigan is sure before long lites, may be discovered with a little trouble. One to give notice of his presence, for he is proud of his flower, however, which is sure to attract the eye, is
soice, and one might pass within a few feet of the the dwarf campion (Silene acaulis), of all gradations !' bird without noticing him, but for his tell-tale call, of colour, from pure spow-white to carmine pink, ! --Tiö, riö, riö,—which has given him his name in in dense masses of little blossoms, studding the
Iceland of Rjupr. We catch the zick-zack of the sand, and growing where vothing else can grow. anipe in yon morass, and the ceaseless melancholy Brave, bonny little plant! I have become attached pipe of the golden plover sounds from every stouy to it from associatiou, as it has cheered my eye, hull around the tarn. Just here there is abundance wearied with the unrelieved monotony of black af life; a gun-shot beyond the top of the rise you wastes for miles and miles in Iceland. will not see or hear a bird. If you are lucky, you It was inipossible to cross this desert in a day, will catch sight of the great snowy owl, like a snow and I was obliged to obtain a guide to direct me to ball sailing by, uttering its solemn note. Its some spot where I could encamp for the night, and haunts are somewhere among the unvisited, un- where there was sufficient herbage for the support kdown recesses of the vast Jökulls which close the of my ponies. We were in the saddle for the view on the south.
greater part of the day, winding among barren stony Here, close to us, is a little snow bunting, sitting hills, traversing rolling swells of exposed trap, trotvagging its tail and cheeping; lucky bunting that ting over sandy sweeps, skirting bristling barriers you are ! had the owl but seen you, you would not of lava, and threading our way among countless be perched so unconcernedly there. How tame the sheets of pale milky water, holding snow in solution,
little being is, or rather how stupid ; you have only and not sufficiently warm to become transparent. , to steal up softly whilst it is occupied cheeping, At last, about six o'clock in the evening, we reached
and you can catch it in your hand. These rocks a lake about three miles long and a mile wide, on I wound us harbour countless buntings, but their which my guide kept a boat for the purpose of fish
Dests are so far in among the crevices that it is a ing. He led us to a node of rock, covered with difficult matter to obtain an egg.
moss, at the foot of which was a heap of brushwood, Have done with the birds : let us take a glance at which he had sept thither some days before, on the the flora of this wild spot. This is scanty. The backs of ponies, to serve him as fuel when he came very moss in some places is turned black as coal by to spend a week in fishing. Our teeth were chatterthe icy tricklings from the snow, and it is only ing with cold, and our whole frames shivering, where there is a dry sheltered spot that any flowers though we were well on in the summer-within a cao blossom. There are a few. The pale blue day or two of the end of June : we were glad butterwort (Pinguicula alpina), on its sickly leaves, I enough accordingly to secure some of this wood and
to make a tire. We had a couple of tents, and these ground and appears as hills. The following section were soon erected, though we had considerable ditti- , will give an idea of the geological formation of the culty in obtaining a suitable site, as the mossy , island. ground was covered with lumps like enormous mole- The mountain systems, it will be observed, are hills as close together as they could stand. If we not in the centre of the island, but along the coast, left the immediate neighbourhood of the rock just mentioned, we found ourselves in a quaking bog: and if we ascended the hill-side, we came upon bare stone on which we could not fix our tents, there being no possibility of driving in the pegs.
whilst the heart of Iceland is occupied by this vast And now I must give an idea of the scene from elevated plain, studded at great intervals with sand. the rise above this tarn, as viewed at midnight, hills. The dotted line shows the former position of when I made the sketch given on page 88.
the sand bed. This formation is to be met with in Imagine, then, the lake, bright as a mirror, re- sections of the mountains as well, but dislocated, flecting the blue-green of the sky, which was for it has been broken through by volcanic dykes, kindled with the beams of the sun, now touching and by active volcanic vents. It is somewhat the sea in the north, but which is invisible to us as
as remarkable that the fossil shells met with in this some miles of rolling waste intervene. The middle sand are those of fresh-water crustacea, and marine distance is the Heidi, swell on swell of stone and shells are entirely absent. So that Iceland must sand, of a deep umber hue, deepening into black. have been upheaved from the bed of some vast Just at the lake-edge my little tent stands out a fresh-water lake, and not from the sea bottom. flake of white against the sombre ground-ah! you Old mother Earth has gone through some odd think there was moss where I pitched it--true; but changes in her time ! the moss on these wastes is not green, but ash grey. Iceland has been thrown up from a very conMy little flag, an admiral of the white pennant, siderable depth. The greatest depth of sea between charged with a red cross, is the only point of bright Scotland and the Faroes is only 254 fathoms, and colour to relieve the monotony of the tints.
that is only in one spot: whereas 128 is the general Over the last swell of the desert, where the depth, and so there is a plateau of land between umber is becoming purple with distance, rises with the Faroes and Iceland at the depth of about 250 one start a mighty dome of ice, raised on precipitous fathoms, when suddenly, off the coast of this island, flanks of trap, black when you are near them, but it drops to 682: whilst between it and Greenland it tinted the sweetest violet in the distance. The descends to 1572. It would be interesting to see mighty pile of snow and ice rises from these abrupt whether the sand-rocks in the Faroes, Iceland, and scarps with a gentle curve, undipted to the very Greenland, belong to the same system. It is imsummit, looking soft and downy as a swan's breast. possible to identify basaltic rocks, as the conAs the sun rests on the glittering heap it blushes to stituents vary in different portions of what is the the tenderest rose and sparkles like a precious gem. The scene is entrancingly lovely. Far off behind The great central wilderness is, as I have already this Jökull, which by the way is called Eirek's stated, almost entirely unexplored. Three tracks Jökull, stretches another — Laug Jökull, like a alone cross it throughout the length of the island, thread of white cloud, resting on the horizon, and and the country right and left of these tracks is lost in the distance at the south-east. To our quite unknown. When I speak of a track, I do right, Eirek’s Jökull throws out a spur of pre- not mean a road. Roads there are done in Iceland, cipitous rock, jauntily capped with snow, and no, not even paths. A track-way over a waste is beyond that, rises the cone of Strútur, an extinct simply formed by piling three or four stoves on the volcano. To the north-west, as the air is so clear, top of a rock. This is called a vardr. From this we can catch sight of the marvellous Baula, a point an experienced eye can detect another vardr, mountain which is considered one of the wonders perhaps on the horizon. Often I could not see of Iceland, as it is a perfect cone, running to a them, but the Icelander has the eye of an eagle, point, 3,500 feet high, with so rapid a slope that and he detects one immediately. The horses have snow never rests on it.
then to make the best of their way from one vardr To the north and north-east, we notice a couple to another, wriggling among stones, floundering of yellow hills, composed of sandstone, several into mud-bogs, picking their way among splinters hundred feet high. Trap and sandstone alternate, of trap or lava, often making the most complicated but the sandstone generally bears a small propor- windings to reach a spot on the horizon of a hill tion to the amount of trap, the layers of sand being which you could strike with an Enfield. The in general very thin. But these sand-hills are reason of the country being so unexplored is just undoubtedly the remains of a very important sand this : if you lose your track in these wastes, God bed which has overlain the trap, till the whole mass help you! you are lost. The compass will not guide forming the Heidi was forced up, when denudation you correctly, for the needle does not always act took place, and the sand was carried away, exposing when you are crossing igneous rock.
You may the trap, except in a few spots, where it stands its wander for days before you reach grass, and if your
ponies die you will hardly be able to reach a place 6800, and that it is a third larger than Ireland, and of safety on foot. The Icelanders had, and in parts that this population is confined to the coast and to bare still, a conviction that the recesses of these the banks of the rivers just above their entrance wilds are inhabited by a race of men of their own into the friths, it leaves ample room for a colony stock, but slightly differing from them in their in the heart of the country to live undisturbed. language and in their dress. They call these people About two o'clock at night—if I may call that Utlegumennir, and there are some curious stories night when it is as light as now when I am writing, told about them. They are supposed to be the the sun just beginning to struggle up the sky again, descendants of outlaws and robbers, who in old and Eirek's Jökull still bathed in his beams-we times haunted these deserts, and who having dis- turned into our tents for the night, putting four covered fertile valleys in the heart of the wilder- guides into a little horseman's tent, 5 feet 6 inches, Dess, are content to reside there, and inherit a by 3 feet 6 inches, which was close enough packing feeling of eamity against the coast-dwellers, who to keep them warm. expelled their ancestors from the community of Storm and raiu came on, and we had a miserable their fellow-men. These people are said to be night, the water pouring over the floor of our tents, sady deficient in iron, and to shoe their horses and soaking all our bedding. We were somewhat with hors. They are thought to have made their aching and rheumatic when we crawled forth next appearance occasionally when merchant ships have morning to a breakfast on cold boiled plover and entered the fjords to trade with the natives. Of char. But travelling is a succession of pleasures course the existence of this race is a possibility, but and pain, of comfort and discomfort, of enjoyment I cannot say anything for its probability. When and angoyance, and we must take all as it comes. we consider that the population of Iceland is only
THE CARE OF THE LITTLE ONES.
LESSON FROM BELGIUM.
WITH one of those touches of thoughtfulness that been mocked by the feigned penitence of the sometimes interrupt the rattle of his humour, Hood, hardened gaol-bird, till we have made it almost the poet, has put a good old English proverb and its a proverb in disgust. Punishment has failed, and meaning into lines that we can easily remember :- tenderness has failed also. It is early contact with
evil that seems almost to have pledged him to * As the twig is bent the tree's inclined,
continue in service with a bond whose relentlessIs an adage often recall'd to mind, Referring to juvenile bias."
ness might have made him hesitate if he could have
anticipated it. In spite of all openings to a better The law is an inflexible one. A long and sad life which may be presented to him, there seems to experience of failure in our philanthropy has taught be for him a fascination about evil which the as to see how seldom its action can be escaped, for virtuous find it difficult either to account for or to it is a fact now universally recognised in England, dispel. Divert him from it for a time indeed you that no plan for the elevation of the degraded sec- may, by an amount of individual attention and tions of society is likely to succeed which does not supervision too exacting to be permanent. But begin with an effort to guard the opening years of once relax the pressure of these upon him, and the human life against the inroads of evil. Looking for old tendencies immediately assert themselves in his a moment away from any particular theological relapse to a state of abandonment and crime which theory as to the causes of failure or the probabili. proves still more obstinate than the first. ties of success, and having regard only to the bare Stung by such experiences of the tenacity of tacts of experience, we have found that it is, in habit, the public mind has gradually awakened to umparatively few cases only that you can reclaim the necessity of giving a different turn to the efforts cse who has grown old in familiarity with evil. of its philanthropy. Prevention has been found to We have found that, admitting it to be possible, at be not only better, but more possible, than cure. aay rate it is not easy to approach the drinker We have been led to suspect that it would better sodden with the liquor of a lifetime, and induce answer our purpose, both morally and financially, bám to adopt habits of sobriety and abstinence. to spend more money and more care upon schools We have found that it is not easy to summon and reformatories and refuges for the young, than ap the blush of modesty to the cheek that has to go on idly perpetuating the old system of multibecome wrinkled in shamelessness and vice. We plying prisons, and hulks, and penal settlements in are not yet adepts in the alchemy by which a man, ever-increasing yet unsatisfied abundance. And the who from infancy to maturity has known no law success which has hitherto followed our attempts, bat his own passions, can be at once transmuted encourages us to do more in the same direction. The into a model of virtue and self-control. We have new theory of dealing with the evil dispositions of