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Scriptures, and knew the truth as it is in Jesus; he had tasted the spiritual bread, and drawn water from the wells of salvation. In the midst of seeming poverty he had found true riches; and although surrounded by outward distress, he had a heart-felt experience that the ways of religion are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths, paths of peace.
Reflecting, therefore, on the many hours he was under the necessity of leaving his mother alone and unemployed, and desirous that she should also enjoy the superior blessing he enjoyed from his religious knowledge, he resolved to teach her to read; and, in due time, accomplished the pleasing task; affording by this means a means of comfort—an inexhaustible source of delight, which she confessed had made her the happiest of women. It pleased the Almighty to open her heart, that, like Lydia, she might attend to the things that were spoken; and, with Mary, sit down at her Saviour's feet and hear his word. She added, that during her son's absence, it was her delight to meditate on the sacred volume, whose divine truths had filled her soul with humble hope and holy joy, and afforded her that peace which the world can neither give nor take away. And this being conveyed to her mind by a beloved child, added those delightful sensations which only a parent's heart can know, to all its other delights.
Such is my little history of the Dundee boy : had I known it when I passed through that town, I would have been more particular. My friend did not inform me whether the mother was allowed any thing from a collection made for the distressed every sabbath in the church; but it is probable she might receive some assistance from a charitable fund, to which rich and poor people contribute according to the means which God has given them.
May Almighty God bless all the dear children who read this, and make them as kind as the boy of Dundee.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE.
Arrows of Divination.-Ezek. xxi. 21.
"BUT the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way at the head of the two ways, to use divination; he made his arrows
bright" (or according to the Vulgate, which seems preferable in this place, "he mixed together or shook his arrows") "he consulted with images, &c."
In a note in the Universal History, vol. iv. p. 313, we have the following curious illustration of this passage, quoted from an Arabian historian:
The arrows used by them (the Arabs) for this purpose (of divination) were like those with which they cast lots, being without heads or feathers, and were kept in the temple of some idol, in whose presence they were consulted. Seven of such arrows were kept at the temple of Mecca, but generally in divination they made use of three only: on one was written "MY LORD hath commanded me; on another, "MY LORD hath forbidden me; and the third was blank. If the first was drawn, they looked on it as an approbation of the enterprise in question; if the second, they made a contrary conclusion; but if the third happened to be drawn, they mixed them and drew them over again, till a decisive answer was given by one of the others.
THE ROSES OF JERICHO.
THE property of these roses, as they are called, from their blowing only on Christmas eve, according to some, and on all the festival days of our Lady according to others, reminds us of the following traditionary origin of roses by Sir John Mandeville, which we thus give in his own words: "And between the cytee (Bethlehem) and the church is the feld floridus; that is to seyne, the feld flourisched: for als moche as a fayre mayden was blamed with wrong, and slaundered, that sche had done fornycacioun; for which cause she was demed to the dethe, and to be brent in that place to the wiche sche was ladd. And as the fyre began to brenn aboute hire, sche made hire preyeres to oure lord, that als wissely as sche was not gylty of that synne, that he wold helpe hire, and make it to be knowen to alle men, of his mercyfulle grace. And whan sche hadde thus seyde, sche entred into the fuyer; and anon was the fuyr quenched and oute: and the brondes that weren brennyne, becomen rede roseres; and the brondes, that weren not kyndled, becomen white roseres, fulle of
And theise weren the first roseres and roses, bothe white and rede, that evere ony man saughte."
So gross were the superstitions of the times, and so thickly benighted the understandings of the generation, that nothing was too hard to be believed by the universally credulous multitude, which being perceived, and the sweet gains of pious fraud once tasted by the designing and avaricious priests, shrines and sanctuaries, and strange stories, to procure respect to particular places, became innumerable. In short, if so sincere, so worthy, and so sensible and knowing a man, as Sir John, most plainly appears to have been, by that part of his travels which is properly his own, and which is not commonly half so much valued as it ought to be, could be so much deceived in this and other respects, what are we to think of his contemporaries?
E. G. B.
THE BIBLE; AND THE SHIPWRECKED SAILORS. (From the Report of the Merchant Seamen's Auxiliary Bible Society.)
A WORK has been published, entitled, "The Narrative of a Voyage to the South Seas, with the Shipwreck of the Princess of Wales Cutter, on the Crozets, uninhabited islands; with an Account of a Two Years' residence on them by the Crew, and their deliverance by an American Schooner; by C. M. GOODRIDGE, one of the Survivors, recently returned to this Country."
The whole narrative is highly interesting; but as the object of your committee in quoting it is merely to show that in one instance at least God has been pleased to make the labors of the Society signally useful—they will confine themselves merely to such passages in the work as relate to the subject. The narrator states in p. 13, that, "In going down the river, Captain Cox, the then active and zealous agent of the Merchant Seamen's Bible Society, presented us with a Bible. We thought little of the gift at the time, but the sequel will show that this proved to be the most valuable of all our stores. As, however, its worth was not made available, till our day of trouble and misery, I will not dwell on it here, but pursue my narrative."
They arrived in the Downs on the 10th of May, 1820, and on the 21st quitted the shores of Britain, and proceeded on
their voyage to the South Seas; and (not to make this abstract tedious) they made the three westernmost of the Crozets on Christmas Eve, the 24th of December, and continued Sealing on the largest of these islands till the beginning of February.
As there was no harbour for shelter in these islands, the plan they pursued was for one party to go on shore, provided with necessary provisions for several days, while the rest of the crew remained to take care of the Vessel, and to salt in the skins which had been procured.--(p. 18.)
They used to visit the Sealing party, consisting of eight persons, every seven or eight days, take on board the skins collected, supply them with a fresh stock of provisions, and again return to their Vessel.
The last time they visited the Sealing party was on the 10th of March. On the 17th, a gale came on from the S. E, accompanied by a heavy swell, and the Captain deemed it advisable to gain an offing; but at twelve o'clock at night their Vessel struck upon the breakers. Their boat was however fortunately got out without any accident, and all hands got into her with such articles as they could immediately put their hands on, but without any provisions. "After four hours' incessant labor (adds the narrator) we succeeded in effecting a landing on a more accessible part of the island; but our boat was swamped, and it was with very great difficulty we succeeded in dragging her on shore, which however we at length effected, and by turning her bottom upwards, and propping up one side, we crept under and obtained some little shelter from the rain, being all miserably cold, wet, and hungry."-(p. 26.)
"On the following morning we launched our boat, and proceeded towards the wreck. The first day we succeeded in saving the captain's chest, the mate's chest, and several planks.
"On the following day, the 20th of March, we picked up her trysail, and some casks of bread; the casks however not being water tight, the bread was all spoiled by the salt water. The last thing we saved on this day, and which we found floating on the water, was, what proved the most invaluable of gifts,-it was the identical Bible put on board by Captain Cox, the agent of the Merchant Seamen's Bible Society, at Gravesend, on our sailing out of the River Thames as before-mentioned. But too often are the gifts bestowed by the Bible Societies ill-appreciated; and this
had undoubtedly been the case with us up to this time; but it soon became our greatest consolation. What made this circumstance more remarkable was, that although we had a variety of other books on board, such as our navigation books, journals, log-books, &c. this was the only article of the kind that we found, nor did we discover the smallest shred of paper of any kind, except this Bible; and still equally surprising was it, that after we had carefully dried the leaves, it was so little injured, that its binding remained in a very serviceable condition, and continued so as long as we had an opportunity of using it."
At page 30, adds the narrative--" I have before said that the most valuable thing we preserved from the wreck, was our Bible; and I must here state, that some portion of each day was set apart for reading it; and by nothing perhaps could I better exemplify its benefits, even in a temporal point of view, than by stating, that to its influence we were indebted for an almost unparalleled unanimity during the whole time we were on the island. The welfare of the community was the individual endeavor of all; and whatever was recommended by the most experienced, was joyfully acquiesced in by the rest. If ever a difference of opinion arose a majority of voices decided the measure, and individual wishes always gave way to the proposals that obtained the largest suffrages. Peace reigned among us; for the precepts of Him who was the harbinger of peace and good-will towards men, were daily inculcated, and daily practised. It is with the greatest gratification," adds the narrator, “ that I dwell on this subject; and never will the benefits bestowed on us by that precious gift be obliterated from my mind. If ever there was a fulfilment of the promise as contained in Eccles. xi. 1." Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days :" this simple fact must bring it home to every, even the least contributor to that most valuable of all Institutions, the Merchant Seamen's Bible Society, for it was fulfilled even to the very letter:-the Bible when bestowed was thrown by unheeded--it traversed wide oceans--it was scattered with the wreck of our frail bark-and was indeed and in truth found upon the waters after many days: and not only was the mere book found, but its value was also discovered, and its blessings, so long neglected, were now made apparent to us. Cast away on a desert island, in the midst of an immense ocean, without a hope