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ual power in our modern Sabbath-school books, that we enter our earnest protest. Here is a volume which opens in this excited and extravagant manner :
“Little Antoinette, come hither! Antoinette, my babe, my blessing, my glory! come back to me from the grave's dark portals. Stand in this summer light, the sunshine resting on that dear, golden hair. Stand with that white hand uplifted, those holy eyes beaming with the serene love of Christ-like childhood, that graceful bend of body and poise of foot, as thou wert wont to spring to my knee.
“Antoinette, my blameless one, my love, my darling! Laying on my heart so, as in the olden time, thy lips to mine - those lips that never said an unkind word; oh, the fragrance of those little, crimson portals! Tell me, my child-angel, tell me, my sinless one, what thou hast seen in heaven."
Just now, we have been having the so-popular “ Tim, the Scissors-grinder.” Where was there ever, in reality, such a wonder of success as Tim, and when was the world so easy to reform and change ? If such a body ever really existed, there would have been felt no need of his wearing any veil of concealment and fiction. For the truth would be strange enough even to satisfy the demands of the day, and he would be a living miracle to whom the whole world would be drawn out into the wilderness " for to see.” He has more than the enchanting spell of Aladdin's lamp. With a sweet smile, and a word or two, he can bring anybody right to the feet of Christ, and very soon on to the mountains of Beulah. Harlan Page sinks into insignificance in the comparison. Moreover, there is a charm about the other characters of the book enough to give it a wide sale, they turn out so prosperously and desirably. We do not wonder that a shrewd and excellent unmarried lady came to the book-store, and with an air of earnestness inquired for the town in which Tim lived, remarking that she should like to live there, for all the young ladies in that town were certain to find good husbands.
There is a sure remedy for the evil tendencies of our Sabbath-school literature.
Let pastors and parents examine the books of their library. We are convinced they do not generally know the character of the books which, by various devices, find their way there. The consequences to our churches are
so momentous that the time and pains required cannot be better employed. Let the churches and ministers also demand that there be at least one depository where only good and safe books, and books of real and permanent value, shall be kept or countenanced. And then let them patronize and sustain that depository, at whatever trouble and cost. Is it of little consequence to make sure of one place where unpoisoned, and positively nutritious food can be obtained for your families and societies ? And above all, higher and more spiritual views must be taken of the Sabbath-school work. Christians must be made to feel the tremendous responsibility of preparing and selecting reading for children and youth. It must not be left to the superficial, the bold, and the self-interested, however ardent they may be. The Sabbath-school must be kept to its legitimate aim of aiding, not leading the church and ministry. Its use is a subordinate one, that of rendering the divinely appointed means of grace more effectual, not of superseding and destroying confidence in them.
The tastes of children and youth should be preserved pure and natural, so that the divine and beautiful simplicity of the Gospel may not lose its charms for them ; so that the work of parents in guarding their reading and education may not be rendered more difficult, nor the addresses of pastors on the saving themes of religion be despoiled of their power. The concert should not be an exhibition, but a meeting for prayer, and for the interest and profit of parents and teachers, as well as of children. And if the children of Christian parents are converted while in the Sabbath-school, it should be remembered that they would probably be converted if there were no Sabbath-school.
We love the Sabbath-school, and yield to none in our desire to see it made the most useful and efficient instrumentality in the cause of our Redeemer that is possible. It should not be forgotten that they are our real friends who snatch us from peril, and lift us up to higher and firmer positions of effort; not those who say pleasant things of us, while they leave us the more satisfied to grope on in the mire, or to float on the easy current over the cataract.
“Forgetting those things which are behind.” — Philippians 3: 13.
Not literally. Memory has a proper work to do in recalling past incidents : meditation may also profitably linger around them, to draw from them lessons of various wisdom.
Yet the habit of excessive retrospection is bad. It enfeebles, confuses, discourages, hinders. The organs of vision were put in the front of our heads for a purpose. The Christian is not a waterman, looking backward while pulling forward ; but a traveller, with eye and foot both turned in the same direction.
Forsaking or letting go the things which are behind, is the idea. What things?
(a) The extravagant hopes of early years. These are natural enough to the period which produces them. But they are largely unfounded in good sense ; are fanciful, foolish, and wholly unsuited to maturer life. “ When I became a man, I put away childish things.”
(6) Undertakings for which experience has proved our unfitness. It is useless to go on repeating old failures in any line of effort, caused by our incompetency. Probably there is something, which everybody may do well, that will benefit the community. If there were less pride and ambition in the world, it would not be so difficult to discover what that thing is, either for ourselves or our children.
(c) All habits which are hurtful to ourselves or others. They may be mental, spiritual, physical ; private, domestic, public. The question is not -- are they pleasant, gainful, or hard to give up? But, are they evil ?
(d) Quarrels and difficulties with others. These should be reconciled and forgotten oftener than returning communion-seasons. They should never survive a sunset. (Eph. iv. 26.)
(Eph. iv. 26.) Keeping up old grudges is as stupid as it is wicked. It makes a dyspeptic stomach, and a miserably lean and graceless soul.
(e) Sins which we have repented of. If this has been sincerely done, we have nothing more to do with them. Our Surety has taken charge of that account, and settled it. We may remember them for caution and humiliation ; but not with anxiety nor discomfort. Faith in Christ forbids it as a sinful distrust of his promise of a full absolution to the genuine penitent.
Cut the traces of all these drags, and leave them as near the bottom of the hill as possible.
“ I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ
Jesus.” — Philippians 3: 14.
What mark? Not a prize of earthly ambition in any of the countless forms of this world's alluring toys or treasures.
Paul was in pursuit of such a mark when he was reading law at the feet of Gamaliel ; and when he was pushing on to Damascus, at the head of an armed police, to harry the Christians. But he lived long enough to find that God's high calling is higher than these objects. It includes —
(a) A true culture of our individual natures. This demands personal religion. All self-culture which omits the training of our souls to holiness, is false. God's spirit is the only sufficient educator of a human spirit. Be our other attainments however complete, they are fatally deficient, if they have a less purpose than to “be holy, and without blame before Him in love."
() A higher measure of Christian activity. How much of this we should exercise is to be determined by our capacities, and opportunities of influence. Whatever the best attainable culture of gifts and graces can prepare us to accomplish for God and man, may be set down as the extent of our duty. Doing good to others is the ultimate object of getting good to ourselves. This glorifies God, whose spiritual activity we should emulate, so far as our finite being will allow.
(c) The state of heavenly blessedness. This crowns the final victor. It is the end of faith, and hope, and perseverance.
The Christian's grandest prize is the inheritance undefiled, indestructible, that fadeth not away. It is the last mountain-top which lifts its sunlit summit far into the warm sky;
“ Where we shall walk in soft white light
With kings and priests abroad;
Upon the hills of God.”
, nest, unfainting struggle. “I press.” There is a world of determination and striving in that word. It is all necessary. Success in this pressing toward’ lies entirely in the help, the presence, the gift of Jesus Christ. There is no high calling of God out of Christ. There is no gaining the prize of life and glory save in and through his redemption.
The Spirit of Hebrew Poetry. By Isaac TAYLOR. With a Bio
graphical Introduction. By William Adams, D. D. 8vo. pp. 386. New York. 1862.
WRITERS, whose thoughts have powerfully moulded our mental characters, hold us not only by an admiration of their abilities but by an affection for their persons, and even names. We were collegians when the earlier volumes of this strong and imaginative author began to arrest the attention of the reading public; and now, at the age
of almost fourscore years, the eye of this veteran in letters is not dim, nor his natural force abated. The papers of his “Saturday Evening” were almost a text-book with us for a decade, and his “Natural History of Enthusiasm ” has left nothing more to be supplied on that difficult theme. In the present volume, the ingenious, penetrating, appreciative analysis, which gave us the inner life of Methodism and of Jesuitism, has opened to view the Spirit of the Hebrew Poems, not so much as compositions of high creative genius from a human point of criticism, as being the medium of the communication of the Divine thought and emotion to men. The investigation thus assumes, to some extent, the apologetic form, and defends, against recent as well as earlier cavillers, the reality of an inspiration from God in these ancient odes and lyrics. These points are ably handled, and with every indication of thoroughly matured reflection. With this important inquiry, various other matters are fittingly interspersed; as, a landscape-painting of the old patriarchal home of the sacred muse, around which the writer throws a charm not inferior to that which veils in beauty the isles and shores of Hellas ; also we have an historical account of the growth of the Hebrew literature ; and other disquisitions upon separate topics of biblical criticism — the books of Job, Psalms, the Song of Songs, the earlier and later prophets; and some concluding observations concerning the continuance of Hebrew poetry and prophecy, to the end of time.
Artistically, we question the contrivance which converts a common 12mo. into a seeming 8vo. volume, by encircling the page with a black line that offends the eye as a mechanical impertinence, and needlessly increases the price. But this is not the author's fault. With