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jar of jewels. Pour out the golden ingots, stamped with the image and superscription of heaven's king. Count over the diamonds that flash in thy hand like stars. Compute the worth of that single jewel, "Ask and ye shall receive;" 'or that other ruby, “all things shall work together for good to them that love God.” Bring forth that royal koh-i-noor, “He that believeth shall be saved.” Then remember who it is that gave them, and to what an unworthy sinner, and tell me if they are not exceeding great and precious. When Cæsar once gave a man a great reward, he exclaimed, “This is too great a gift for me to receive.” said Cæsar, “it is not too great a gift for me to give.” So the smallest promise in thy casket is too much for thee to deserve; yet the most magnificent promise is not too great for the king of kings to bestow. God scorns to act meanly and stingily by his children; and how must He scorn us often when we put Him off with such contemptible meanness of deed or donations !
THE GREAT GIFT.-ROMANS V. Gifts of God. —"He has gifted us with the innocent pleasures of sense. He has annexed enjoyment to every action of the life, so that when body and mind are alike in health, we can neither eat, drink, walk, talk, or sleep, without sensations of pleasure. He has gifted us with powers of imagination-made us susceptible of the rich poetry with which He has filled creation. He has given us the capacity for high thoughts and feelings. He has endowed us to expand, to analyze, to illustrate, to compare, to combine. He has gifted us with the principle of friendship. He has implanted in us the social nature. He has gifted us with the pleasures of hope, drawing comfort from every element of sorrow, and soothing each marah of the heart's bitterness. He has gifted us with the pleasures of memory, embalming the recollection of the past in an amber that never fades away, and that is proof against the corrupting influences of time, thrilling again the spirit with the pleasures that once thrilled the heart of youth. He has gifted us above all with the pleasures of holiness, and the blessed feeling of conscious pardon, the calm satisfaction of assured faith, the enriching comfort of the Holy Ghost, -heaven around us, heaven within us, heaven beyond us, heaven above us, and the bright and cheering prospect of the enjoyment of that heaven for ever.”—Punshon. He has given us, as the crown and pledge of all beside—His son, “and now shall He not, with Him, also freely give us all things ?”
LIFE MADE NOBLE.—Philippians iii. 7, to iv. 9. A noble Life.-"Amongst rational beings that life is longest, whether brief or protracted its outward term, into which the largest amount of mind, of mental and moral activity is condensed. It is possible for the longest life to be really briefer than the shortest, and the child or youth may die older, with more of life crowded into his brief existence, than he whose dull and stagnant being drags on to an inglorious old age.”—Caird.
Time used is Life. -An eminent divine was suffering under chronic disease, and consulted three physicians, who declared, on being questioned by the sick man, that his disease would be followed by death in a shorter or longer time, according to the manner in which he lived ; but they advised unanimously to give up his office, because, in his situation, mental agitation would be fatal to him. “If,” inquired the divine, “I give myself up to repose, how long, gentle
men, will you guarantee my life ?” “Probably six years,'' answered the doctors. “And if I continue in office ?” “Three years at most ?” “Your servant, gentlemen,” he replied, “I should prefer living two or three years in doing some good to living six years in idleness."
LIFE A SHORT PILGRIMAGE.—Psalm xxxis, The Journey of Life.—“We talk of life as a journey, but how variously is that journey performed. There are those who come forth girt, and shod, and mantled, to walk on velvet lawns and smooth terraces, where every gale is arrested, and every beam is tempered. There are others who walk on the Alpine paths of life, against driving misery, and through stormy sorrows, over sharp afflictions; walk with bare feet and naked breast, jaded, mangled, and chilled” (Sydney Smith). “All life is a journey, not a home; it is a road, not a country; and those transient enjoyments which you have in this life, lawful in their way—those incidental and evanescent pleasures which you may sip, are not home; they are little inns only upon the roadside of life, where you are refreshed for a moment, that you may take again the pilgrim's staff and journey on, seeking what is still before you—the rest that remaineth for the people of God.” “In a sabbath gathering of Quakers, some years ago, an aged and venerable looking man arose, and with prophet-like authority said, “Many say it is a solemn thing to die, but, bethink you all, and bethink you well, it is a solemn thing to live.' That witness was true.”—Coley.
Length of Life.—“Lady Huntingdon one evening was on her way to a brilliant assembly, when suddenly there darted into her soul these words : ‘Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever;' which she had committed to memory years before in learning the Westminster Shorter Catechism. From that hour her whole life revolved round a new centre. The guilty, trembling sinner, hitherto occupied with her poor self, gazed on the face of him who died for her ; and as she gazed her conscience found peace, and her heart a satisfying rest. Her whole life became one “living sacrifice.”
66'Tis not for man to trife! Life is brief
And sin is here.
A dropping tear.
One, only one!
That narrow span!
THE ORIGIN OF SUNDAY SCHOOLS.
The oft repeated question, “Who was the founder of Sunday schools ?” has been re-opened in the pages of the Churchman's Shilling Magazine, by an article from the pen of a clergyman, the Rev. S. R. T. Mayne.
The intention of the writer is to prove that the claims of Robert Raikes have been considerably overrated, that the original suggestion of Sunday schools in Gloucester came from the Rev. T. Stock, and that this clergyman established the first Sunday school in that city,—Mr. Raikes bearing a portion of the expense, and soon afterwards opening another school himself.
The rev. writer therefore contends that Mr. Raikes fallowed in the wake of Mr. Stock, and though he admits that a large share of credit is due to the former for spreading a knowledge of the system, and promoting its adoption through the country, he claims for the latter at least an equal share of the honour, and finds fault with the medal struck at the time of the Jubilee in 1831, which bore the inscription, “Robert Raikes, Esq., founder of Sunday Schools."
It is unnecessary to go at length into the arguments by which these conclusions are supported, as no new facts are presented, and the evidence adduced is either derived from mere hearsay or dependent upon the memory of
very old persons, whose statements were made many years after the alleged occurrences took place, and do not agree one with the other.
One of the deponents testifies that Mr. Stock's school in St. John's was the first opened in Gloucester; another alleges that the first school was the one opened in St. Catherine's parish, to which Mr. Raikes contributed two-thirds, and Mr. Stock one-third of the expense; while another asserts that a Mr. William King suggested the idea, that Mr. Stock acted upon it, and that Mr. Raikes promoted it by the publicity given to it in the pages of the Gloucester Jourual.
But let us turn from this unsatisfactory and conflicting evidence, and found our conclusion on the statements of the two persons most immediately concerned.
In a letter dated February 2nd, 1788, Mr. Stock makes the following statement :—“Mr. Raikes, meeting me one day by accident at my own door, and, in the coming conversation lamenting the deplorable state of the lower classes of mankind, took particular notice of the situation of the poorer children. I had made, I replied, the same observation, and told him if he would accompany me into my own parish we would make some attempt to remedy the evil. We immediately proceeded to the business, and procuring the names of about ninety children, placed them under the care of four persons for a stated number of hours on the Sunday.”
From this statement “it by no means follows that the idea had not already occurred to Mr. Raikes previously to this interview with Mr. Stock,” * and for aught we know to the contrary he might have already established the first Sunday school in Gloucester. But now let us attend to Mr. Raikes's account of the original suggestion of the idea to his own mind.
After describing his visit to one of the lowest suburbs of the city of Gloucester, the degraded condition of the juvenile population, and the description given of their conduct on the Sabbath, which led him at once to take action, he remarked to Joseph Lancaster, “I can never pass by the spot where the word “try' came so powerfully into mymind without lifting up my hands and heart to heaven in gratitude to God for having put such a thought into my head."
If Mr. Raikes was a truthful Christian man, which nobody denies, who can doubt that the original idea was due to him, and that, in the language of our Sunday school poet,
“One heaven-directed mind
Resolved the simple plan.” ? There can be no doubt that long prior to this time classes of children had been gathered together in various parts of the country for religious instruction on the Lord's day, but these were isolated efforts, usually beginning and ending with one benevolent mind, and were probably unknown to either of the Gloucester worthies with whom the Sunday school system really begun.
Mr. Stock himself testifies that “the progress of this institution through the kingdom is justly to be attributed to the constant representations which Mr. Raikes made in his own paper (the Gloucester Journal) of the benefits which he perceived would probably arise from it.”
If, then, the idea was Mr. Raikes's, if he took part in founding even Mr. Stock's first Sunday school, and if to him more than any other man the propagation of the plan tbroughout the country is to be attributed, the Sunday School Union could not have been far wrong in the inscription placed upon their medal, “ Robert Raikes, Esq., Founder of Sunday Schools.”
F. J. H. * Watson's “ History of Sunday Schools.”
“We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial,
PERIODICAL LITERATURE. “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” 11. siis
Railways, notably, are providing means for fulfilling the former portion of this prediction, whilst the multifold magazines, issued for all sorts and conditions of men,” are doing their part to accomplish the latter."
It is impossible in our limited space to do justice to the mass of periodicals which month by month appear upon our table. Of variety there is no lack, the tastes of all are catered for-light, sketchy, lively articles ; dull, heavy, ponderous prelections ; grave and gay, humorous and pathetic, each and all in turn appear.
Amid all this diversity several features are common to the majority:
A serial tale runs through very many ; month after month the fortunes of the hero or heroine attract the eager attention of readers, and the close of a tale of interest is often enough followed by a diminution in the number o of subscribers, showing how largely this element has to do with the success or failure of the undertaking.
Amusement must now-a-days be largely combined with instruction if the latter is to be at all palatable. Grave and reverend seniors of the last century would have vigorously denounced the leading idea of much of our current literature.
most heretical, as monstrous as a comic sermon or a funny funeral. Learning was, in their estimation, a somewhat bitter pill, which must, however, be taken if taken at all—without any gilding. There is some danger at present lest the oppo site extreme should be reached, and the gilding process be too largely resorted to. · The paucity of books led, commonly, to careful reading and complete understanding; the few well-known, well-worn volumes were repeatedly perused and thoroughly mastered, there was little of the slipshod superficiality now so common : so far as the knowledge went it was more
pre full, exact, and abiding, more diligently and carefully sought out and treasured up.
Popular topics, from the Abyssinian expedition to the great solar eclipse, are now dilated on in sketchy, taking articles ; a hasty, crude notion, a'smattering of facts, an imperfect reminiscence-lasting till the rise of the next novelty-is frequently all that is attained. Readers of the present day know something about a multiplicity of subjects, but from the hurried reading, the variety of topics, the desultcriness of study, they may be shrewdly suspected of knowing but little about any of them. When such facilities exist it would ill become us to attempt
bt to dissuade any of our readers from intermeddling with all knowledge, yet we may be permitted to hint that each should select some one subject for the study of which he is best fitted by natural gifts, by inclination, or for the mastery of which special facilities may be within reach-that upon this one topic, at least, he should be content with no inferior , imperfect understanding, but should have it, in all its a
details, familiar and understood. To the certainty and precision of such knowledge all else" may be made to minister, and vantage-ground is attained for the extension of inquiry, investigation, and acquirement in other directions."USTERS 370t & il desitzer
Though we speak in somewhat doubtful tones as to the tendencies lof the omeven by implication, the labours of those who are striving to direct into right channels the public taste, and to provide mental aliment of the right kind, but rather to guard against the abuse, or even the imperfect use,
úse, of literary treasur
o Tesi cili iwej NIO so ample and so ready to hand.