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think he might as well give us a few chapters from the Bible, and omit his own comments altogether.”
“I was so sorry that we had no better treat for dear grandfather, yesterday;" continued Catherine, looking toward the venerable occupant of an easy-chair on the other side of the fire. “He has such opportunities, you know, in town, of hearing men of first-rate talent."
“ Your concern on my account was needless, Kate,” said the old gentleman, who had hitherto appeared inattentive to their converstion. “I am not accustomed to the preaching of men of first-rate talent;' for I believe it my duty to attend regularly on the ministry of my own pastor, who is a good man, of only moderate attainments, though truly and experimentally acquainted with spiritual things. I look for a blessing to my soul, not for mere intellectual gratification from a sermon; and I trust I may say that, notwithstanding your apprehensions, I was not entirely disappointed yesterday."
“ But still,” interposed Maria, “you must think it a subject of regret that, with a congregation such as ours, we have not in the pulpit a man of ability to command the attention of his hearers : to arrest, as it were, their wandering thoughts; to compel them to give heed to the important truths which he would enforce. What delightful results we might hope for if, instead of Mr. Somers, we had some eloquent and energetic preacher, whose words should come home to every heart, and awaken every careless and slumbering conscience !"
“My dear Maria,” said the old gentleman, “I read in my Bible, that though Paul may plant, and Apollos may water, it is God alone who gives the increase. Without his blessing there would not be such results as you speak of ; with it, the sermons of Mr. Somers will not be heard in vain. I acknowledge that I have listened to men of more brilliant talent and powerful oratory ; but I must add, that I have never heard the great doctrines of the Gospel more faithfully declared, nor its obligations enforced by more Scriptural argument, than in the sermons upon which you have commented so freely."
“ We all admit that Mr. Somers is a sound, evangelical preacher,” said Catherine ; “ but then, dear grandfather, his unattractive style—his monotonous tone.”
Her grandfather did not appear to notice this remark. “If Maria,' said he, “can forgive another quotation from the book which was given for our instruction in righteousness,' I would suggest a question as to the propriety of your thus permitting yourself habitually to speak with levity of the minister who labours among you, whose prayers are doubtless frequently offered on your behalf, and whom you should esteem very highly in love for his work's saķe. Can you hope that the Holy Spirit will bless the word preached to the saving or instruction of your souls, when you regard the minister of Christ with so little reverence, and find in the message which he, with a solemn sense of his responsibility, delivers to you, only occcasion for criticism and idle discussion ? Is it thus that you should receive the ministry of reconciliation ? Is it in this spirit, analyzing the construction of a sentence, censuring the defects of emphasis and tone, is it in this spirit that guilty and perishing sinnners should hear the tidings of mercy through a Saviour's blood, and learn the awful doom of those who neglect so great a salvation ? '
“Do not think me needlessly severe," continued the venerable adviser. “I have myself, during my younger days, suffered in my own soul from this evil habit of looking out for errors and deficiencies, when I ought to have listened with humility and prayerful attention; and conscience will not suffer me to remain silent while I see those whom I love falling into the same snare.
• Take heed how ye hear;' and when the Gospel is preached to you, diligently examine your hearts and lives by the standard of faith and holiness set before you from the Scriptures, reserving your criticism of the preacher until you shall have made such progress in spiritual attainments that there shall be no more left for him to teach, nor for you to learn. Could such a time by possibility arrive, the desire to censure would then have passed away, with other sinful propensities of our nature; and although this can not be in our present state of existence, yet even here you will be enabled to attain to somewhat of that better state of mind, if you pray earnestly for grace to receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.' Visitor.
BY J. W. ALEXANDER, D.D. It was a happy day at the farm, when Captain Wells came home. He had been absent more than two years. While he was away, his brother, Mr. Wells, had removed to the country. The little children had grown a great deal, and everything was changed. But they were all glad to see the captain. He was fond of his nephews and nieces, and always brought them something pretty and useful from the countries he had visited.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Wells were five in number. Arthur, the eldest son, was a young man. He had just come home from college.
Caroline was sixteen years of age. Delia was eleven years old, and Edward and Frank, who were twins, were not more than nine years of age.
It was a very warm day in July when he arrived. The family were scattered in different parts of the house, Mr. Wells had been in the field, looking at his reapers, and Mrs. Wells was sewing in the porch. Edward and Frank were sitting upon the steps, making a waggon out of pine boards. Caroline and Delia were resting themselves in the hall, and Arthur was reading in the courtyard, under a large elm.
Just as the clock struck four, they heard a stage-coach drive up to the opening of the lane, and saw a gentleman get off the box. They knew it was their uncle Charles, He turned himself round and waved his hand to them, and as soon as he came in, the children were all around him, asking him questions. He was a kind man, and answered them with great patience. Then he opened his large trunk, and took out his gifts. There was a large Bible, with pictures, for Arthur, two beautiful globes for the girls, and a box of tools for Edward and Frank. They all seemed to
be so happy, and conversed with much good humour, until the hour came for their evening meal. While they were at tea, a shower came on, which greatly cooled the air, and gave a freshness to the whole landscape. As they looked westward, they could see that the yellow fields appeared more lovely; the long line of trees along the brook was clean and bright, and the patches of corn had a clear and shining green.
Mr. Wells said to his children, as they viewed the pleasing prospect,“ This puts one in mind of David's beautiful words, 'Thou visitest the earth and waterest it; thou preparest them corn when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly, thou causest the rain to descend into the furrows thereof; thou makest it soft with showers; thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness, and the little hills are girded with joy on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks, the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.'”
Captain.-I perceive, brother, that you still have your old way of repeating the Bible. Every thing seems to remind you of the Scripture. It is certainly a good habit, but I never could bring myself to think of the words of Scripture so naturally as you do.
Mr. Wells. The art is easily learned, if one begins early enough. The great thing is to read the Bible very frequently, and to commit some part of it to memory every day. Then if a man loves it, he will be reminded of it by all that he sees and hears.
Frank. Perhaps Uncle Charles would like to take a walk before the sun goes down. Shall we get our hats and bonnets?
Mr. W.-I am quite willing. What say you, brother Charles ?
Captain.--With all my heart. I am fond of the country. I have been so much at sea lately, that it has been a long time since I saw any thing rural.
Arthur.–Let us walk, then. I think, uncle, you will be pleased, for God has smiled upon my father's farm this
We have seldom had the prospect of such crops. By keeping in the lane and along the road we may walk without getting wet. Come, girls, we are waiting for you.
Capt.-Harvest-time seems to be a joyful time, all over the world. When I was in Germany, used to see a great merry-making among the people at this season. And in England, they frolic rather too much, sometimes, at harvesthome.
Edward.—I suppose that it makes people glad to see such good crops, and to think that they will have something to eat in the winter.
Arthur.—The Israelites used to rejoice, with psalms and shouting, when they took in their harvest. I remember that it is said in the prophecy of Isaiah: “ They joy before thee, according to the joy in harvest;" and in another place, where the prophet is mourning over the evils that were to come upon Moab, he says, “The shouting for the summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen ; and gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting.”
Capt.—The words are very beautiful. It is much more expressive than to say that the country is laid waste. Bythe-by, I should like to know at what time of the year the harvest came in Judea ?
Arthur.–Travellers are not agreed. I can only answer your question by saying, that the beginning of barley har vest in Judea is about the first of April. It was some time, however, before this was over. The wheat harvest came later. The two harvests extend from the beginning of April to the middle of June. But at Aleppo the wheat harvest is commonly over by the 20th of May. The season called by the Jews harvest, lasted from the beginning of April till the end of May. The country is said to be as much parched in May, as it is with us in August. And Isaiah seems to allude to this, when he