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FACTS, HINTS, GEMS, AND POETRY.
Facts, Hints, Gems, and Poetry.
There are 1,062 Jesuits in the United States and Canada. Besides the University of St. Louis, which is in their hands, they have seventeen establishments for education, mostly for superior
The English revisers of the Old Testament have held forty-one sessions. They have carried their revision as far as Ezekiel xliv. 14. The revisers of the New Testament have held sixtyfive sessions. At their last meeting they reached the sixth chapter of Hebrews.
There are six universities in Russia -two in St. Petersburg, and one each in Moscow, Kassan, Odessa, and Kharkoff. In 1866 there were in all of them 3,591 students. In 1871 the number had increased to 5,301, but in 1876 it had diminished again to 4,492. As a rule Russian students have no resources of their own, and are obliged to give lessons to support themselves. At Moscow many of them, especially the medical students, are said to be in a miserable condition. From 1870 to 1873 while 3,224 medical students finished their course of studies, 2,911 were compelled to desist without taking their degree.
"When you doubt, abstain," was a maxim of Zoroaster.
The surest way not to fail, is to determine to succeed.-R. B. Sheridan. Never turn a blessing around to see whether it has a dark side to it.
Knowledge and timber should not be much used until they are seasoned. Holmes.
There is no greater punishment than that of being abandoned to one's self. Pasquier Quesnel.
The world will never be saved by caution, or by any other merely negative virtue.-W. W. Patton.
Sir John Herschel defined self-re"that corner-stone of all
I hold him to be dead in whom shame spect as virtue." is dead.-Plautus.
The mind grows narrow in proportion as the soul grows corrupt.
-Rousseau. We can hardly learn humility and tenderness enough except by suffering. George Eliot.
"Man," says Adam Smith, "is an animal that makes bargains. No other animal does this,-no dog exchanges bones with another."
Men, till a matter be done, wonder that it can be done; and as soon as it is done, wonder that it was no sooner done.-Bacon.
I have one great principle which I never lose sight of: to insist strongly on the difference between Christian and non-Christian, and to sink into nothing the differences between Christian and Christian.-Dr. Arnold.
POETIC SELECTIONS.-THE CHILDRENS' CORNER.
THE DEAF MUSICIAN.
I SEE a lark in the far summer sky;
I dreamed last night of some dim abbey choir;
The lights were burning where the singers stood
Chanting my anthem. I crouched in the dark,
Weeping for joy to hear them call it good! A music of my sleep, that mocks my soul With cruel joys that are fulfilled no more Than his who dreams of light and love at home,
And wakes to find himself on Arctic shore. It haunts me always through my silent days, With life before me like a closed gate: If God had only bidden me to die,
Or anything but this hard work-to wait. To wait and work, and know my work but as Some poor fond mother from her infant reft,
Shuts the sweet memory safe from change and time,
And dreams to find her boy the babe she left.
And yet there is a thought will sometimes
Some of the sweetness soaring in my soul;
Perchance it is their echo that I catch,
ONLY a seed-but it chanced to fall
And taking root grew bravely up,
Till a tiny blossom crowned its top.
Only a flower-but it chanced that day That a burdened heart passed by that
And the message that through the flower was sent
Brought the weary soul a sweet content,
For it spake of the lilies so wonderfully clad;
And the tired heart grew strangely glad, At the thought of a tender care over all, That noted even a sparrow's fall.
Only a thought-but the work it wrought
Could never by tongue or pen be taught: For it ran through a life, like a thread of gold,
And the life bore fruit-a hundred-fold.
Only a word—but 'twas spoken in love, With a whispered prayer to the Lord
And the angels in heaven rejoiced once
For a new-born soul "entered in by the door."
The Childrens' Corner.
I ONCE asked a deaf and dumb boy, "What is truth?" He replied by thrusting his finger forward in a straight line. I then asked him, "What is falsehood?" when he made a zigzag with his finger. Try to remember this; let whoever will take a zigzag path, go you on your way straight as an arrow to its mark, and shrink back from falsehood as you would from a venomous viper.
THE LESSON IN THE SKY.
Ir is a strange thing how little in general people know about the sky. It is the part of creation in which Nature has done more for the sake of pleasing man, more for the sole and evident purpose of talking to him, than in any other of her works, and it is just the part in which we least attend to hear. There are not many of her other works in which some more material or essential purpose than the mere pleasing of man is not answered by every part of their organisation; but every essential purpose of the sky might, so far as we know, be answered, if once in three days or thereabout a great ugly black rain-cloud were brought up over the blue, and everything well watered, and so all left blue again till next time, with perhaps a film of morning and evening mist for dew. And instead of this, there is not a moment of any day of our lives when Nature is not producing scene after scene, picture after picture, glory after glory, and working still upon such exquisite and constant principles of the most perfect beauty, that it is quite certain it is all done for us, and intended for our perpetual pleasure. And every man wherever placed, however far from other sources of interest or beauty, has this doing for him constantly. The noblest scenes of the earth can be seen and known by but few; it is not intended that man should live always in the midst of them, he injures them by his presence, he ceases to feel them if he be always with them: but the sky is for all; bright as it is, it is not too "bright and good for human nature's daily food;" it is fitted in all its functions for the perpetual comfort and exalting of the heart, for the soothing and purifying it from its dross and dust. Sometimes gentle, sometimes capricious, sometimes awful, most human in its passions, almost spiritual in its tenderness, almost divine in its affinity, its appeal to what is immortal in us is distinct as its ministry of chastisement or of blessing to what is mortal is essential. And yet we never attend to it, we never make it a subject of thought, but as it has to do with our animal sensations; we look upon all by which it speaks to us more clearly than to brutes, upon all which bears witness to the intention of the Supreme that we are to receive more from the covering vault than the light and dew which we share with the weed and the worm, only as a succession of meaningless and monotonous accidents too common and too vain to be worthy of a moment of watchfulness, or a glance of admiration. If in our moments of utter idleness and insipidity we turn to the sky as a last resource, which of its phenomena do we speak of? One says it has been wet, and another it has been windy, and another it has
RELIGION IN A BARN-YARD.
been warm. Who, among the whole chattering crowd, can tell me of the forms and the precipices of the chain of tall white mountains that girded the horizon at noon yesterday? Who saw the narrow sunbeam that came out of the south and smote upon their summits until they melted and mouldered away in a dust of blue rain? Who saw the dance of the dead clouds when the sunlight left them last night, and the west wind blew them before it like withered leaves ? All has passed unregretted as unseen; or if the apathy be ever shaken off even for an instant, it is only by what is gross or what is extraordinary; and yet it is not in the broad and fierce manifestations of the elemental energies, nor in the clash of the hail, nor the drift of the whirlwind, that the highest characters of the sublime are developed. God is not in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the still, small voice. They are but the blunt, low faculties of our nature which can only be addressed through lampblack and lightning. It is in quiet and subdued passages of unobtrusive majesty, the deep and the calm and perpetual, that which must be sought ere it is seen and loved, ere it is understood, things which the angels work out for us daily, and yet vary eternally, which are never wanting, never repeated, which are to be found but once; it is through these that the lesson of devotion is chiefly taught, and the blessing of beauty given.—Ruskin.
RELIGION IN A BARN-YARD.
IT is a great misfortune, under certain circumstances, for a minister to be endowed with extreme sensitiveness of the ludicrous faculty. I have often had painful experiences of this; but never was solemnity such a difficult problem as it was the other day, at the funeral of one of my congregation. It usually assists a minister in his remarks on such an occasion to know something of the character and history of the deceased, and, as it happened in this particular instance, I was in a state of almost total ignorance, only being aware of the bare fact that the departed matron had been accounted a true Christian for many years. I stopped in the doorway of the house before entering, to make a few inquiries of my deacon concerning the circumstances of her religious experi"She has been a faithful Christian for twenty-five years,' said the deacon, "and what is rather singular, she was converted while milking." He said it with the utmost gravity, being an imperturbably grave man; and yet, can you wonder that to one who sees a comical side to almost everything under the sun, the remark proved like an electric shock to every serious sentiment? I bit my lip, forced my facial muscles into rigidity by sheer will
RELIGION IN A BARN-YARD.
power, entered the house, and speedily the hush of the darkened rooms settled my mind to equilibrium. A moment's reflection satisfied me that I must confine myself to generalities in speaking of the religious character of the departed saint. Suggestive as was the fact which the deacon had narrated, yet I could not trust myself to tell it, nor my audience to listen to it. My public duty performed, I walked to my study, soliloquizing upon a religious phenomenon so singular. In the "Conversion of Paul," as Rubens has rendered it upon canvas, there is a character of dramatic dignity. The circumstances are all in keeping with the sublime, spiritual fact which is central and all-solemnizing. But would Rubens dare trust his reputation with a faithful bodying forth of this scene, and register it on the catalogue," The conversion of a dairy-woman?" You have the whole in your mind's eye, my reader, a composition of simplicities all through; a barnyard, a milk-pail, a woman with abstracted look, half on earth and half toward heaven, the devout cattle around, and angels overhead veiled in the fleecy clouds. I put this against the conversion of Paul, as not a whit less sublime, however homely its surroundings.
Now, my friend, let me talk to you about this matter for a moment, for I am sure that you are of the number, not small, who account religion to be a thing of time and circumstances, rather than of the interior soul. Converted in a barn-yard! Why not? Converted over a milk-pail! Certainly; and what should hinder? Thought and love are not imprisoned in horizons. They are denizens of the whole earth; yes, of the heavens too. consecrate all places, and hallow all industry. You have thought, have you not, that Paul's conversion was somehow in the dazzling sun, and the lurid clouds overhanging, and the convulsed elements? It is a mistake; these were merely contingent. In that sentence, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" was the key-note of immortality; no, not in the sentence either, but in the thought, the affection, the resolve which lay behind that. I find people in my pastoral walks every day who are waiting for some artificial combination of circumstances to project them into a religious life. When there is a lull in business; when there is a great tempest of religious excitement; when fiery judgments are raining out of heaven; when the barometer and the almanack register thus and so-then will come the favoured hour when the soul will celebrate its wedlock with God. What folly is this! I tell you, my unconverted neighbours, these fancies are only the devil's pretexts to seduce you into a procrastination of that which is the one duty of your life, to wit to give your heart to God, your Heavenly Father. Go wherever you and I may list, and the two conditions