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character, and instruct the heart, and these lessons are of lifelong duration, only to be terminated in eternity.”
“What sort of lessons do you mean, dear Miss H.,” enquired all the young people.
“ Your precise condition in the sight of God, my dear children ; your duty to him, and your prospects for the close of this fleeting season, we term human life.”
“I cannot say I ever thought about such lessons as these," remarked Matilda in a low voice.
“Then, my love, it is time you did. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God,' ” added Miss H., looking affectionately at the animated group around her, and His righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto you.' • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.''
“ Will you teach us these lessons, Miss H.?”
“ The Holy Scriptures, under the blessing of God's Holy Spirit, will impart all you wish to know; will teach you the humbling lesson of your own depravity, and proneness to evil; the welcome lesson of Jesus Christ's sacrifice for guilty men, and the blessed lesson of moderation in prosperity,--serenity in affliction,-peace in death: are not these worth learning ?”
“Yes, indeed! if they are not learned, all other lessons can be of little use.”
“You are right; for what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?' But they are lessons which must be personally and individually learned, to be of any avail. You know I often tell you
that an imperfect lesson cannot injure me, you are the losers. I gain only the additional trouble of hearing what I already know, twice over.”
“Since you explained that to us, I do not think we have often lost a lesson."
“No, you are usually very diligent now. There are, however, some lessons, I grant, which I trust
will never learn." “ What can they be, Miss H..”
“ Such as the Evil One is ever ready to teach, and sometimes by the most fascinating of teachers : the last of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. Do you not remember that fine passage in Bunyan's Holy War, where the discomfited followers of Diabolus are represented as returning to Mansoul
under new names ? Thus covetousness was courteously received as Prudence Thrifty-my Lord Licentiousness as Harmless Mirth-Lord Anger as Mr. Good Zeal.”
“Oh, yes, and I remember when you were reading it to us, you pointed out this passage of Scripture, “ The love of many shall wax cold.'”
“Just so, and the effect of declining love for the Saviour soon appears in the indefinite opinions and lax practice of those who ought to be living epistles of God, known and read of all men ; so walking that every one might take knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
E. W. P.
THE LATE REV. EDWARD BICKERSTETH. It is particularly refreshing in these days of party bitterness and distraction to find Christians of one denomination sympathising with, and bearing noble and eloquent testimony to, those of another. Our hearts have been much warmed and gladdened by the perusal of the Rev. J. A. James' character of the late Rev. E. Bickersteth, who died at Watton, Herts, where he had labored so long and so usefully, on the 28th February, 1850. It was pronounced at Exeter Hall, on occasion of the great meeting to welcome Dr. Achilli on his liberation from the dungeons of the Inquisition.
“I should go from these boards reproaching myself, if I did not say that the same Providence which gave us Dr. Achilli, has taken from us Bickersteth; and at the very time that we are so happily engaged in this hall, his funeral obsequies are being performed. O what a contrast between the scene here and that at Watton Rectory, and in the church of that parish! Bickersteth, during his last illness, suggested that Dr. Achilli should be presented on the platform at Exeter-hall to the multitude, who would rejoice to witness that distinguished man, and joy in the happiness of celebrating his escape from Popish cruelty. Yes, it is Providence that has taken him; and there is as much wisdom in the one event as the other; though in giving us Achilli, that wisdom floats in radiant brightness upon the surface, while, in the removal of Bickersteth, it lies hidden in those depths of the Divine counsel
“ Too dark to view with feeble sense
Too deep to sound with mortal lines.” Heaven, which gathers to itself all that is holy in the world, has seldom received a richer contribution to its treasures than when the spirit of that holy man passed its Divine threshold. His spotless piety, against which slander never uttered a whisper, nor profanity ever threw a jest; his gentleness and meekness which rendered it all but impossible that he should have an enemy or lose a friend; his Christian simplicity, united with his manly intelligence; his divine charity, before which the demon of bigotry, like Satan before the Seraph
stood Abashed, and felt how awful God might be;" his happy countenance, which looked as if his soul were ever sunning itself in the light of glory, combined to form a composite character, which is rarely exhibited in this world of imperfection.
“ Bickersteth was a member and a minister of the Church of England, and one of its brightest ornaments, but he had a heart which the Church of England was too scanty to hold, and for which nothing could be found adequate but the amplitude of the universal Church. I am from conviction a Nonconformist, but I would abhor my nonconformity and repudiate it the next moment, if I felt that it blinded my judgment or hardened my heart against the disinguished excellence of such a minister of the Establishment. Sir, that luminary has set; and we are gazing upon the glowing horizon and the ruby clouds which mark its going down, and form its train of glory, and which attend its transition from the hemisphere of grace to that of glory. May it be granted to us to follow him as he followed Christ! May we find the mantle which dropped from him when he ascended to the skies, and go from this place prepared to carry' on the work which he lived to accomplish, and to which he set the seal of his dying testimony. With what joy would he have been here this morning! With what seraphic accents would he have addressed us; but perhaps with accents less solemn than those with which he speaks to us from the grave: * Be
ye also ready, for at such an hour as ye know not the Son of Man cometh.'"
THE BLIND. THERE is no class of our suffering fellow-men, who meet with more universal sympathy than those who are deprived of their sight. When we consider all the sources of pure and exquisite pleasure of which the eye is the medium of communication to the mind, we can never attempt to realize the privation of the sense of seeing, without the utmost commiseration for those so afflicted ; and if we be right-minded children of God, without also raising our hearts in thankfulness to Him who gave, and preserves to us, the precious boon of sight. The cheerful light of day, the glowing landscape, the loveliness of flowers, the answering beaming eye, of affection and friendship, the ability for healthful and useful industry, and the instruction to be derived from books; these are all so many streams of enjoyment, of which the blind know little: if they have been born blind—nothing; which we are all too little thankful for, while we enjoy them as a matter of course, and unless bereft of them, we can never fully appreciate their value.
These thoughts often occurred to an energetic and benevolent Christian, towards the close of the last century. Their impression was strengthened by his constantly meeting with victims of blindness from the small pox-for the providential discovery of Jenner had not been brought into common use and moreover, they were brought home to his own sympathies, by his own narrow escape from a similar misfortune, in that dreadful disease. This active servant of his Divine Master observed, that the blind, whether naturally so, or from disease or accident, were invariably cheerfully disposed and intelligent -very often had their other senses in extraordinary perfection, and were especially gifted with quick and retentive memory, and fine ear and aptitude for music. And yet they were overlooked by the philanthropists of that day, and many of them were obliged to beg from door to door, a scanty and bitter livelihood for themselves, and often for infant families.
The individual we allude to, rested not in mere sympathy; he formed a plan, and with undeviating anxiety pursued it, till, by his own individual exertion, he had procured the means to purchase a house-invest a little capital and in short, found an asylum, or rather, it was originally, a working establishment, where poor and industrious blind might be taught different occupations suited to their condition, and be remunerated for their work. To this object he devoted, for above forty years, much of his time, his influence, and his means. The rich and the noble also gave liberally; and thus this truly Christian charity, which commenced in one of our chief cities, has become the model for many others in almost every large town.
Though the common practice of vaccination has preserved, in these days, to many persons who otherwise might have been bereft of it, the inestimable blessing of sight: yet, still, in every locality, there are such objects of compassion to be met with, whose misfortune has arisen from other causes ; and it may afford some useful hints to state a few additional particulars of the institution we have mentioned.
At the commencement, eight or ten men were received to the benefits it offered. Basket-making was the first thing taught. One overseer or teacher easily communicated this art to the docile pupils, and very shortly they could earn from eight to twenty shillings a week for their maintenance, which was paid to them every Friday. Most of them had homes of their own in the city; the others found themselves in lodgings, for they only worked at the asylum under proper vigilant superintendence. The materials for their labor were found for them, and their work was disposed of without risk to the pupils. Indeed, herein lay the object: to teach those to work who otherwise would have necessarily been idle; and to find them constant employment, with remuneration proportionate to their activity and skill, implanted and fostered a spirit of industry and independence, no eleemosynary aid could have done. The effects were soon apparent. The men were well elad, and healthy; above all, were happy and thankful.
You might hear them singing at their work all day long-intermixed with cheerful conversation, and harmless badinage: and you could not fail also to notice, with approval, the most brother-like kindliness to, and helpfulness of, one another. They felt as mates of misfortune-bound to care for each other, and the stronger to assist the weak. When one or other had got through his usual daily portion of labor, instead of earning something additional for himself, he would fall to, and with his