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Brown bread, if we mistake not, was the kind used by the patriarchs; and none died of dyspepsia. Fine bolting cloths were probably unknown in ancient times, and the present generation would be more healthy without them. Massinissa, king of Numidia, “ died in the 97th year of his age, one hundred and forty-nine years before the Christian era. He was remarkable for the health he long enjoyed. This strength of mind and body he chiefly owed to the temperance which he observed. He was seen eating brown bread at the door of his tent the day after he had obtained a great victory over the armies of Carthage.”
THOUGHTS FOR THE SABBATH.
“ He grew, and he was weaned.”—Gen. xxi. 8. O my soul, as I view the little fact recorded in this text, how beautifully it brings to my recollection the growth of grace in the children of the Almighty. Children who, ere infinite love led them to feel the nature of their transgressions, with the direful effects and the heinousness of them, had hard hearts, incapable of spiritual sensation, now feel them softened by the cheering words of the Saviour, “ Thy sins are forgiven thee.” From thence grace grows abundantly, diffusing itself over the whole ; which grace raises us above the world ; and though great dangers and troublesome obstacles arise to impede our farther progress, still this grace will detach our hearts from all the things of earth, and will direct us on to salvation ; and thus obstacles never to be overcome, are driven before us like chaff before the wind.
What a sublime possession has the Christian in this, when tempted by petty baubles, by the vain mimicry and show of Satan ; he, by grace, cries aloud, “O Lord, shut my eyes from beholding vanity; make me to rest alone upon thee.” It enables him, when he beholds the precious gems of earth, to scorn them, and to say, Far, O far inferior is this earthly bauble to my never-fading inestimable gem, the Lord of Hosts, who, by his power, weans us from the world, and bestows upon us the blessed possession of heaven. Happy indeed is the man who at once discharges the duty, and enjoys the privilege, of detachment from the world.
No. II.-MEETING OF THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN. Among the most delightful associations connected with the world of spirits, is the idea which originates in our belief in the communion of saints, and which represents to us the children of God who have lived upon earth at various periods of time, as forming one fold under one great Shepherd.
Of those who, in humbly pursuing the paths of faith and holiness, are looking forward to be introduced to this company of the redeemed;
there are few who have not fixed upon a chosen circle of just men made perfect, from whose society they expect more particular pleasure. The idea is so natural, so intimately blended with all our better feelings, and really forms so beautiful and strong a tie to the invisible world, that it is one which it cannot be wrong to entertain. The chosen circle, doubtless, consists, in the first place, of those whom having seen, we have known and loved; kindred and friends who have died in the Lord attach us to the citizens of heaven, and cause us to remember Zion with a more vivid interest.
“ 'Tis sweet, as year by year we lose
Friends out of sight, by faith to muse
How grows in paradise our store." But it includes others also, belonging to distant countries or times, whose hands we have never clasped, whose voices we have never heard, whose bodily presence we have never seen, but with whose minds and characters we have become intimately acquainted and strongly attached. The simple-minded Christians of primitive times, the confessors who being faithful unto death were to receive a crown of life; the staunch defenders of the faith, especially when their conscientious firmness and boldness in their Lord's behalf were associated with gentleness of spirit; these claim and possess the affection of the sincere Christian. But still that company comprises others perhaps even more beloved than these, whose lives may not have been distinguished by any very remarkable incidents, yet to whom we owe the thoughts and impressions from which we derive the greatest satisfaction ; those who, in bequeathing to us wholesome counsel, have inscribed in their holy pages a picture of their own minds.
How many beautiful thoughts does this passage awaken in the heart! How many dear familiar faces, long loved and lost, seem suddenly to revive in the quiet of our memory, not cold and pale with the shadows of the tomb, but glowing with the warm airs of paradise ! How many voices speak to us with the very tones of childhood ; how many young feet dance by us with a sound of music! Precious, indeed, to the beloved spirit is this Christian anticipation! It rolls away the cloud from our eyes, it turns the shades of sorrow into the light of morning. We can gaze upon the vacant chair without weeping ; we can think of the departed with a placid joy as of one who has set out a pleasant journey to his father's house, there to wait for the coming of the beloved. Thus strengthened, we may go forward boldly on our pilgrimage, neither fainting nor murmuring, but ever turning our face, when wearied, to the garden of rest, whither those whom we pine for have gone before us.
No. III.---THE SAVIOUR'S COMPLAINT. " And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani ? which is being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou for. saken me?"-Mark xv. 34.
Listen, O my soul, methinks I still hear the distant echo of the cry
as it resounds from age to age from Calvary. Methinks I still hear the last expiring words of my beloved Lord, declaring the pains he has endured for thee, if thou hast placed on him thy dependence for salvation, and cast all thy cares on God. Yes, methinks the awfully majestic words from the expiring lips of godlike majesty, still roll through each succeeding age, till time shall be no more. Yes, those words that contained all the energy of his nature, which satisfied the utmost demands of justice, and pleased God the Father, and finished the utmost limits of redemption's plan, still continue, and will continue till time shall end. O then, my soul, throw not away the little hour of life given by Jehovah to stand, supported by him, the fiery arrows of persecution, if thou appealest unto him. Waste thy precious time no more ; but look back, and consider how long has already been wasted away, and fly to God, the refuge. Ask his forgiveness for past sins, for His sake who thus suffered and died. But, O my soul, when God shall hide himself from thee, that thou mayest know thy frailty, then will I weep over the sins I have committed, and will cry in the words of my Saviour, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” These words, uttered by faith, shall revive my drooping soul, and grant the peace of which the world can know nothing.
No. IV.--CHRISTIAN INTERCOURSE.
It is recorded as a portion of sacred history, “ They that feared the Lord spake often one to another.” This declaration discloses both the duty of Christians, and their true temper when in the high exercise of godliness. But this, like many other religious duties, is often neglected by the professed disciples of Jesus. Still, when duly discharged, it is a source of very high enjoyment. By neglecting to converse with one another, Christians of the same church often become alienated in their mutual feelings ; jealous of each other, and disposed to feel that they are undervalued by their brethren and sisters ; cold and inactive in Christ's service; and disheartened in their efforts to grow in grace and save souls. One of the greatest evils, except immorality, in a church, is that members do not know each other as Christians. As men of the world and members of civil society, and in relation to secular business, they may be well acquainted, while they are almost entire strangers as Christians. Hence they do not enter into each other's sorrows and joys; and are consequently almost destitute of those endearing sympathies, that should bind together closely the members of Christ's family.
If the members of a church would be faithful to visit each other for Christian conversation and improvement, they would soon perceive their mutual benefit to be very great. Their love to each other would abound; their Christian graces thrive ; if they had become backsliders, they would be revived ; if they had neglected to warn sinners, they would awake to a faithful discharge of this duty; their clouds of darkness would disappear, and the sunshine of joy, and hope, and spiritual courage, break forth upon their souls; and their growth in grace, their spiritual enjoyment and usefulness, would be vastly increased.
ANECDOTES OF WASHINGTON. Our American friends have recently published a small volume of anecdotes of this very extraordinary man, for the use of young persons, from which we extract the few following facts :
WASHINGTON AND HIS FATHER. It was a lovely morning, in the autumn of 1737, when the father of George rapped at the door of two friends, who were on a visit to his family, and invited them to accompany him in a walk. The invitation was gladly accepted.
It was indeed a delightful morning. The party were full of life and animation. But no one seemed to enjoy the walk more than George, who was, at this time, a little boy of five years old.
“We will take a turn in the orchard," said Mr. Washington. "I can show you a fine sight."
“A fine sight, indeed,” observed one of the gentlemen of the party, as they entered a large orchard, abounding with the richest variety of fruit. “ The ground seems to be quite covered, and yet the trees are still bending under their load.”
“ An abundant crop,” said Mr. Washington; “ more than we shall well know how to dispose of.”
At this moment, Mr. Washington turned to George, who was round among the trees, selecting the fairest apples he could find, and filling his pockets. " George, my son."
“What, father," said George ; “ do you want me ?"
“Do you remember, my son, how that your cousin gave you a large fine apple last spring ?”
“ Yes, sir.”
The countenance of George fell. He looked quite confused and ashamed. The apple in question had been given to him ; and when asked by his father to divide it, and to give part to his little brothers and sisters, he had almost refused. He was quite a little boy, and his father had endeavoured to show him the impropriety of being selfish. And, moreover, he had told him, that in the autumn, he would give him an abundance of apples, if he would be liberal and kind.
I said George appeared confused and ashamed. He looked down upon the ground, and scratched the earth with his little toes, just as I have seen other boys do, when they felt bad.
“ Look up, my son, look up," said Mr. Washington, " and see how bounteous God has been to us. Here are more apples than you could eat in all your life. I promised you an abundance; and, now, because you gave your brothers and sisters some of your apple last spring, you may have as many as you want."
This did not satisfy George. He had indeed given a part of his apple to his brothers and sisters ; but he had done it reluctantly; and now he felt condemned for his selfishness ; nor was he happy again, until, stepping up to his father, he said, in a soft and very pleasant
tone,“ Well, father, only forgive me this time, and see if I ever be so stingy any more."
WASHINGTON'S EARLY REGARD FOR TRUTH. Some time after the above occurrence, I suppose it was, George had a present made him of a hatchet. Like other boys, he was very fond of it, and was abroad every fine day to use it.
At length he found his way into the garden, where he employed himself for some time in hacking pea-bushes. This was quite an innocent amusement. But by and by, he discovered a young cherry-tree, which he attacked with great spirit; and, though unable to cut it down, he so hacked it as to render it of no value.
It happened to be a choice variety, and a tree which his father had cultivated with great care.
The next morning, Mr. Washington was, as usual, in the garden quite early, and discovered the mischief. * " What! what! who has done this ?” he inwardly exclaimed, as he examined the lacerated tree. “I would scarcely have taken five guineas for it."
With some warmth, and a somewhat quicker step than usual, he hastened into the house, and began his inquiries as to the author of the mischief.
No one knew-no one had remarked it. And, for a time, it seemed doubtful whether the author would be found out.
Where George was all this time, I am unable to say. But, at length, it occurred to Mr. Washington that he had a hatchet, and might prove to be the rogue.
Search for George was now made ; when lo! the little fellow was discovered with the very instrument of all the mischief in his hand.
" George !” said his father, with some sternness.
“ What ! father," said George, quite confused ; not thinking about the cherry-tree, and not knowing indeed much about its value.
"George! do you know"-I can well imagine that Mr. Washington almost hesitated to go on with the question, for fear George might be tempted to conceal the truth. But, be this as it may, he did ask,
"George! do you know who killed that beautiful little cherry-tree, yonder, in the garden ?”
What a question for poor George! For a moment, he said nothing; his head fell; he looked upon the ground; he was tempted to say, “ that he did not know.” But this would not do ; no, he could not deceive; or, if he could, he would not; so, looking up to his father, with a manly spirit of confession, and with a kind of triumph, that he had gotten the victory over the temptation which came upon him to deceive, he cried out, “I can't tell a lie, father ; you know I can't tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet.”
This was a noble confession. Mr. Washington felt a thrill of joy running through all his bones, and his heart fairly leaped with delight. He clasped his son to his bosom, and exclaimed, “ I am glad you killed the cherry-tree; for by means of it, I have discovered how much my boy regards the truth. You was powerfully tempted to deceive ; but you have nobly triumphed. Such a victory is worth a thousand trees all blossoming with silver-nay, all loaded with gold.”
(To be Continued.)