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length, and about two or three in breadth, streaming upwards from the horizon at an angle of about 30 or 35 degrees. No nucleus was visible; and so attenuated was the texture of the tail, that stars of the fifth magnitude were distinctly seen through it. It appears, however, that a stellar nucleus of about the sixth magnitude was detected at Nice on the 14th, and was subsequently seen at Paris.
Celestial appearances of this erratic character, frequently strike us with greater wonder and admiration than those which move with such accuracy that we are able to predict their position at any given point of space within a second of time. We are too apt to regard this regularity as the result of a certain necessity imposed upon the stupendous machinery of the universe at the beginning, and requiring at present little or no oversight by its Great Framer. But when we conceive of a luminous body, the train of which literally draws the third part of heaven, as that of the great red dragon of the apocalypse is said to have done figuratively, we are overwhelmed with gratitude to Him who leads it not only harmlessly but beneficially through the mazes of our own solar system, not suffering it in the slightest measure to derange the position or the functions even of the satellites that wait upon its several planets.
The tail of the great comet of 1680 was found by Newton to be no less than sixty millions of miles in length; and that of the
ble, is computed to be nearly as long. It is farther presumed to travel at the rate of 104 French leagues in a second of time! Happy, thrice happy, then is the Christian who feels that the same Omnipotence which is guaranteed to guide this splendid meteor through the heavens, is put forth to secure his own salvation ; and has laid help upon the man that is his fellow—the Mighty God, the Everlasting Saviour, the Prince of Peace!
SERVE GOD IN YOUTH. “God is not so penurious of friends as to hold himself and his kingdom saleable for the refuse and reversions of their lives, who have sacrificed the principal thereof to his enemies and their own brutish lust; thus only ceasing to offend when the ability of offending is taken from them.
THE POOR PARSON'S* TESTAMENT.
I REMEMBER well how I once enjoyed a hearty laugh at an honest countryman's description of London, after his return from a short visit to the great metropolis. “For his part," said he, "he'd rather stay at hoam : it wor' such a wilderness of a place.” And so it is; strange as the epithet may appear to those who have only seen it in prospective, and know little or nothing of the emptiness of its attractions. So at least I think very often, as I hurry through its dingy streets with my mind dwelling on the dull routine of business, and my ears deafened by the multitudinous hum of this great Babel. Now and then, to be sure, I step aside to pore over the treasures of some old book-stall, and enjoy, in the midst of all the hubbub, a minute's converse with the good or great of other ages; or if press of business prevent even this solace, I light perhaps on some incident or passage that strikes a pleasant note within my heart, whose sweet cadence continues audible throughout the greater part of my otherwise monotonous pilgrimage. It was my good fortune not long since in loitering about one of these tables in the wilderness, to light upon an old volume, labelled on its parchment binding, in a fine round Italian hand - Novum Testamentum Græcum. It was a thick, small octavo, evidently of some antiquity; and curious to know the reason of its unusual bulk, I opened the book, and found it interleaved, and illustrated by a considerable number of manuscript notes. I turned to the beginning, but the title-page was gone, and I had no other guide than the character of the writing to fix the period it belonged to. There was something venerable and delightful in the very look of the cream-colored paper itself. It was, nevertheless, of so stout and rough a fabric, that the firm old quill which had inscribed it, told with good effect, albeit the ink was often of a nut-brown dye, and the letters none of the most legible. chased it, and it now lies before me, the record of an unostentatious and silent passage in some good man's life; a witness to the beautiful simplicity and singleness of heart which stimulated,
I purand directed, and sweetened the labors, the trials, and the happy experiences of some “poore persone" in by-gone days.
* This good old word, "parson," though now often used reproachfully, is in itself highly complimentary. The persone, or parson of other days, was either so called because he was the chief individual of his parish, or because he was an impersonation of the church itself.
Amidst the squalidness, and poverty, and noise, with which I was surrounded, I felt a summer-glow come over me, and a vision of fresh fields, and green trees, and singing birds, as the thought flashed across my mind that it had been the closet companion of some country curate more than a century ago; and before the heart-burnings, which disturb at present the peace Christ's church, had attained that fearful stature which they now
It was to a quiet and secluded nook in the midst of gentle scenery, possessing no features of striking grandeur or chaotic wildness, but soft, and undulating, and prodigal of shade, that this old volume transported me to the moss-stained walls of one of those lowly and yet lovely little churches whose ashy tower harmonizes so well with the landscape around it, as to seem itself part and parcel of the tapestry of nature; to the overarching trees of lime, and aspen, and wych-elm, that throw their dancing shadows on the narrow walk between them, and conduct us from the time-honored sanctuary to the happy parsonage, where, on bended knees, and in the stillness of communion with its blessed Author, this book had been consulted, and "things new and old” elicited from its exhaustless treasures, to set before the little flock who worshipped in that house of prayer. It was a pretty parsonage, larger than would have suited the requirements of its modest occupant; and, indeed, it was in part disused, but the few rooms still inhabited bore no evidence of neglect or of discomfort. Here it was, I thought, in this little study over the door-way, and jutting out from the centre of the main building, that the faithful steward of the Highest would oftenest consult this valued book, taking it down from one of the few shelves which contained his whole library. Many of its companions upon these shelves are mentioned in the notes with which that good old man has interspersed it ; and, perhaps, beyond an old concordance, and a Hebrew and Greek lexicon, he had little need of other commentators. That lowest shelf contained a goodly range of small and sturdy folios, done up in boards, in some few instances, of nearly half an inch in thickness, with bands that might have bound Prometheus. Here, in the calm of a summer's morning, with the small casement thrown open to the utmost, amidst the fragrance of luxuriant climbers, and unconscious, in his nobler occupations, of the thrilling music from a thousand warblers all around him, would that good old curate meditate upon this sacred volume, and ask the teachings of the Spirit to write it on his heart, that he might speak as the oracles of God to his faithful and beloved parishioners.
He had more concern to do, than to undo; he did not feel it to be his business to wage war with every one, and combat all that might be advanced by those who though they “held the Head,” still differed upon minor points of discipline and doctrine. If on a hearty and simple reception of “Godde's gospel” as he called it, these excrescences were not pruned away, it was idle to use the knife before. First, thought he, we must make the tree good by grafting it on Christ, through a faithful preaching of the word; and then as we grow in grace, we shall break away from our sins and follies one by one, till we arrive at the measure of the stature of a perfect man in Christ Jesus.
“I design,” says this peaceful commentator, “to prove these two things,-1. That Jesus was the true Messias. 2. That the Book we call ye New Testament is authentick, and writ by those under whose names we have received them. And first, that Jesus is the Messias or Christ, which two words signify ye same thing, only ye one is Hebrew, ye other Greeke. Anointed is meant by 'em, i.e. a person set apart by God, anointed with most sacred oyl, and advanced to the highest office of which ye employm'ts under ye law, wherein anointing was used, were but types and shadows." With all this primitive simplicity of purpose does the poor parson enter on his holy office, and how sweet a note he strikes in discoursing on the nearness of the saints to their great federal head. He finds his text in the very title of the record_diatheke--and while he treads upon the threshold with reverence and godly fear, puts forth his claim with boldness to the covenant-mercies of the Son of God.
“ This name," says he, agrees in a more proper and particular sense to ye New Testament than to the old, if we take it to signify an alliance : for this which God made with man by Jesus Christ hath all ye conditions of a perfect alliance; 'tis not only a covenant contracted with man, but confirmed likewise by ye blood of Jesus Christ, ye mediator of it. 'Tis a testament, too, in a more proper sense than ye old covenant, because in this, ye death of him yt ordained it interven’d; for yt reason, as St. Paul proves, (Heb. ix. 15–17.) 'tis properly speaking a testament, because it is
ye last will of Jesus Christ confirmed by his death.”
Anxious to drink into the pure spirit of the gospel, your good old parson was not like many who dared not canvas with a critic's eye, its fervid and heart-warming declarations. His religion was not so exquisitely susceptible that it would not bear to be touched and tasted and handled. He felt that virtue came out of the scriptures at every touch ; and the fire kindled within, as by critical investigation he elicited new shades of meaning. He never deprecated learning or research ; he never dreaded scrutiny; he never denounced enquiry; or pointed to the doom of Uzzah, when the student brought his erudition to bear upon the word of truth. The cunningly devised fables of heathenism, the traditions of the fathers, the sophistries of the schools, might ask “reserve :" but he had found that the precious treasury of God's promises
-like a vein of ore, The farther searched, enriched him still the more. If imperfection, or error, or obscurity, hung about a phrase in our translation of the scriptures, he would consult linguist and lexicographer till he had “purely purged away its dross,” and possessed himself
the tried gold of the original. How sweetly does he bring out the force and beauty of that clouded text, Heb. ii. 16.
“This verse,” says he, “in our translation is extreamly obscure; and rightly rendred runs thus— He verily doth not take hold of angells, but of ye seed of Abraham he taketh hold: For ye greeke term signifys catching any one yt is either running away or falling on ye ground, or into a pit; to fetch back and recover again. This Christ did for man in being born and suffering in our flesh, but for angels he did it not; who being once fallen are left in yt wretched estate, and no course taken, and consequently no possibility left, for their recovery.'
Can you not feel how bright a hope would fill that good man's mind, as he saw in the clear shining of such a truth as this the firmness of his Saviour's hold, and threw himself into the arms