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THE FIRESIDE.-THE PENNY POST BOX.
WHY should people read? and what is the real, solid value of printed matter? There are three good reasons for reading, and we can think of no others. They are to be made wiser, to be made noble, and to be innocently recreated. Books which neither confer information which is worth having, nor lift the spiritual part of us up to loftier regions, nor, by judicious diversion, refreshen the mind for further serious efforts, are bad books, and the reading of such is invariably idleness, and not unoften the most dangerous kind of idleness. Reading is not, as so many people now-a-days seem to suppose, good in itself, as so many things are which are by no means as highly thought of. All energy that is not injurious, wasteful, or subtracted from some effort incumbent upon him who puts it forth, is good; as walking, riding, boating, and the rest. But the reading of which we speak cannot, under the most favourable construction, be regarded as energy. On the contrary, it is the very laziest form of laziness. People fly to it when they think they have nothing else to do, and they flatter themselves that by reading they are really doing something; and thus, nine times out of ten, they exonerate themselves from the obligation of performing some duty which is distasteful to them.
The Penny Post Box.
He has gone but a little way in this matter who supposes that it is an easy thing for a man to speak the truth, "the thing he troweth ;" and that it is a casual function which may be fulfilled, at once, after any lapse of exercise. But, in the first place, the man who would speak the truth must know what he troweth. To do that he must have an uncorrupted judgment. But some people's judgments are so entirely gained over by vanity, selfishness, passion, or inflated prejudices, and fancies long indulged in; or they have the habit of looking at everything so carelessly, that they see nothing. truly. Again, to speak truth, a man must not only have that martial courage which goes out with sound of drum and trumpet, to do and suffer great things, but that domestic courage which compels him to utter small-sounding truths in spite of present inconvenience and outraged sensitiveness or sensibility. Truth-telling, in its highest sense, requires a well-balanced mind. For instance, much exaggeration, perhaps the most, is occasioned by an impatient and easily-moved temperament, which longs to convey its own vivid impressions to other minds, and seeks by amplifying to gain the full measure of their sympathy. But a true man does not think what his hearers are feeling, but what he is saying.-Arthur Helps.
FACTS, HINTS, GEMS, AND POETRY.
Facts, Hints, Gems, and Poetry.
CHANGES OF A CENTURY.
The nineteenth century has witnessed many and great discoveries.
In 1809, Fulton took out the first patent for the invention of the steamboat.
The first steamboats which made regular trips across the Atlantic Ocean were the "Sirius" and the "Great Western," in 1830.
The first public application to practical use of gas for illumination was made in 1802.
In 1813 the streets of London were for the first time lighted with gas.
In 1813 there was built in Waltham, Massachusetts, a mill, believed to have been the first in the world which com
bined all requirements of making
finished cloth from the raw cotton. In 1807, wooden cloeks commenced to be made by machinery. This ushered in the era of cheap clocks. In 1840, the first experiments in photography were made by Daguerre. The anthracite coal business may be said to have begun in 1820.
In 1836, the first patent for the invention of matches was granted. In 1845, the first telegram was sent. Steel pens were introduced for use in 1803.
The first successful trial of a reaper took place in 1833.
In 1846, Elias Howe obtained a patent for his first sewing-machine.
The first successful operation of making vulcanized India rubber was patented in 1839.
It is quite easy to perform our duties when they are pleasant, and imply no self-sacrifice; the test of principles is to perform them with equal readiness when they are onerous and disagreeable.
A grasp of the hand, a smile, a word even, is often enough in God's hand
A great soul is known by its enlarged, strong, and tender sympathies.
True elevation of mind does not take a being out of the circle of those who are below him, but binds him faster for a closer attachment and conformity to them, and gives them advantages to him.
When you build selfishly you build frailly. When your acts are hostile to the broad interests of your fellowmen, they are seed that will one day come up weeds to choke your own harvest-field.
The embarrassments of God's people are only the festive scaffolds on which His might, His faithfulness, and His mercy, celebrate their triumph.
dure a depreciation of their efforts. All men who do anything must enIt is the dirt which their chariot wheels throw up.
Use what talent you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there but those which sing best.
If you have been tempted into evil, fly from it; it is not falling into the water, but lying in it that drowns.
Fight hard against a hasty temper. Anger will come; but resist it. Mercies and afflictions are interwoven.
POETIC SELECTIONS.-THE CHILDRENS' CORNER.
THE PEACEFUL MIND.
O calm of hills above!
Where Jesus knelt to share with thee
Interpreted by love!
With that deep hush subduing all
The beauty of Thy peace.
Breathe through the pulses of desire
O still, small voice of calm!
WHAT THOU WILT.
NOT what to me seems good;
Lord, when I look to Thee;
Not heaps of earthly store,
Not health nor friends nor fame;
When I address Thy name;
Save as Thou see'st such wealth would be
Not labours meant for love,
As most shall make Thy glory sure.
My heart is full of want;
My wants reach out to Thee;
Thy promise unto me;
Take from my heart its load of guilt,
The Childrens' Corner.
THE following line is from Gray's Elegy, "The ploughman homeward plods his weary way." Variations—
The weary ploughman homeward plods his way.
THE HANDS OF CHRIST.
OUR Divine Jesus becomes vastly nearer to us and dearer, too, when we think of Him as a fellow-man. He was made like unto His brethren. This is the great mystery of godliness; but none the less true because it is too deep for our fathom-lines. He became actual flesh and blood, and his baby-lips drew milk from a mother's breast. His feet trod the rough roads of Galilee, and His weary head was laid on the hard plank of the fishing-boat when He dropped asleep. His eyes looked upon guilty Jerusalem until the tears came; and looked upon guilty Peter, too, until his tears came. His hands were ever busy, from the time when they handled the axe and saw in Nazareth until they were pierced with the ragged nails on Calvary. Of these hands we read very often ; and there are some precious lessons which they hold out to all His disciples to the end of time.
1. They were working hands. In the Songs of Solomon they are poetically described as like "gold rings set with the beryl;" but they were actually the roughened hands which drove the chisel and swung the axe. What a divine dignity our Lord puts upon honest toil; and what a silent, stinging rebuke upon the upstart insolence which counts manual labour a menial degradation. In all God's universe there is no room for that moral monster, an idle man. My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." It was a steady industry with Jesus that accomplished in a short three years such an amount of travel and preaching and healing of the diseased. Of all He said and did only a small portion has been recorded. What a sweep of work those hands performed-from lifting a corpse into life, and touching a leper into health, down to the lowly office of washing the feet of eleven poor sinners.
2. A very beautiful office was performed by our Master when He took a group of children up into His arms and "laid His hands upon them " and blessed them. What virtue went out of that holy touch into those young hearts we cannot tell. We have often longed to know how those children turned out in after life, and what gifts that divine benediction brought them. Tradition says that the brave martyr Ignatius was one of the little fellows who sat on the lap of Jesus and felt the pressure of the almighty hand. Precious Saviour! come in spirit and lay Thy strong, gentle grasp of love on our dear boys and girls, and keep these our lambs from the fangs of the wolf. It is a grievous sin that we fathers and mothers do not with actual faith bring our children to Jesus, that He may lay upon them that mighty influence which alone can keep
them from the devil's clutch. Either Jesus or Satan must have our children. Upon us parents too often hangs the deciding vote. A large portion of Christ's miracles of love were wrought at the urgent request of parents for their suffering children. Is that ear gone deaf to-day? Will He not do for our children's souls what He did for the bodies of the ruler's daughter and the dead youth at Nain?
3. What power, too, was there in the hold of Jesus's hands. One strong grasp lifts the sinking Peter out of the depths. So my dear Lord caught me when I was sinking toward hell by the gravitation of my own guilt. So has He often lifted me out of trouble when the waves were ready to strangle me. The tighter I clung, the safer I felt. At the moment when I let my whole weight hang upon His arm, the responsibility for my salvation passed up from me to the Omnipotent Jesus.
4. Those hands which thus hold me were pierced for my redemption. The prints of the nails are there. Those wounded hands bore my guilt in the hour of atonement. Out of them flowed the atoning blood. He bids me "reach thither my fingers and behold that hand, and be not faithless but believing." It is the Jesus of Calvary that saves me. Nor does His work end with the sacrifice He made for us on the cross. Paul tells us in that magnificent eighth chapter to the Romans that "it is Christ that died-yea, is risen again; who is at the right hand of God and making intercession for us." There He stands as our Advocate. He lifts up His hands for us. He pleads our cause. Like the wounded Roman hero who came before the Senate and held up the stumps of his arms in mute appeal for an imprisoned brother, and gained his suit, so our Elder Brother pleads for us with the pierced hands that bled on the cross.
These are a few of the thousand sweet and strengthening lessons which the hands of our Divine Redeemer bring to us. Let us kiss them with reverent love. Let us lay ourselves within them. Let us dismiss all cowardly fears and devilish doubts while "His left hand is under our heads, and His right hand doth embrace us."-T. L. Cuyler.
CHRIST CRUCIFIED.-The blood of Christ is as balsam dropped upon the points of the arrows of death. That, by removing the guilt of sin, pulled out the sting of death. When we tremble under a sense of our sins, the terrors of the judge, and the curses of the law, let us look upon a crucified Christ, the remedy of all our miseries. His cross hath procured a crown, His passion hath expiated our transgression. His death hath disarmed the law, His blood hath washed a believer's soul. This death is the destruction of our enemies, the spring of our happiness, the eternal testimony of divine love.-Charnock.