Page images


will go,"!. " I will not go;” or, “I will do," "I will forbear,” alternately, and he decided according to the alternative which was associated with the last span or finger's

The method of divination by rods, as in use among the ancient Germans, was not much unlike one of the modes divination by arrows, as noticed under Ezek. xxi. 21. They cut a twig of a fruit-tree into several pieces, and, having distinguished the pieces by marks, threw them promiscuously into a white cloth. Then the priest of the community-if information was desired concerning a public event, or, if a private one, the father of a family -addressed a prayer to the gods, and, looking towards heaven, took up each piece thrice, one after another, and from the order in which the marks presented themselves, he drew inferences for the solution of the difficulty, or for the prediction of the future.

Herodotus also describes the ori. ginal and common divination of the Scythians as by rods; but the application of the details given by him are not very clear.

Things not very unlike some of these, and at least equally absurd, are done daily by ignorant people

in our own country. The difference is, that with us such persons only are addicted to these practices, whereas anciently they were matters of solemnity and ceremony, by which not only the uninstructed people, but the educated, the learned, and the great, were guided, and by which important measures of public and private conduct were often determined. Yet all men think they act with reason; and they satisfied their understandings with such conclusions as these : “If the power of the gods proceeds in pre-manifestation as far as to things inanimate-such as pebblestones, rods, pieces of wood, stones, corn, or wheat-this very thing is most admirable in the pre-signification of divine prophecy, because it imparts soul to things inanimate, motion to things immovable, and makes all things to be clear and known, to partake of reason, and to be defined by the measures of intellection, though possessing no por: tion of reason for themselves." From this it seems that it was un. derstood that the gods being appealed to, used these things as instruments for making known their will. But for this belief no reason is given, and we know well that none existed.

[ocr errors]

The Counsel Chamber.

SPEAKING AND WRITING. Next to religion, every young man using good language in speaking, should aspire to a perfect knowledge and to avoid the use of slang words of his mother tongue. To this end and phrases. The longer they live let him procure a copy of Walker's the more difficult the acquisition of Dictionary, and give it three or four such language will be; and if the times a careful perusal. It will golden age of youth, the proper become delightful reading! Let season for the acquisition of lanhim next master one of our best guage, be passed in its abuse, the grammars. This done, let him unfortunate victim of neglected attend to his daily conversation. education is very probably doomed We advise all young persons to to talk slang for life. Money is not acquire in early life the habit of necessary to procure this education.

We see

Every man has it in his power. He has merely to use the language which he reads instead of the slang which he hears; to form his taste from the best speakers and writers of the country; to treasure up choice phrases in his memory, and habituate himself to their use.

Let the young man write as well as speak, and with equal care. No matter how slow, only be correct, and practice will produce facility. Speed in composition is a questionable advantage. Poetic history records two names which may represent the rapid and the thoughtful pen-Lopez de Vega and Milton.

one pouring out verses more rapidly than a secretary could write them; the other building up, in the watches of the dark, a few majestic lines.' One leaving his treasures to be easily compressed into a single volume—the other to be spread abundantly over forty-six quartos; one gaining fifteen pounds -the other a hundred thousand ducats; one sitting at the door of his house, when the sun shone, in a coarse coat of gray cloth, and visited only by a few learned men from foreign countries—the other followed by crowds wherever he appeared, while even the children shouted after him with delight. It is only since the earth has fallen on both that the fame and the honour of the Spaniard and the Englishman have been changed. He who nearly finished a comedy before breakfast now lies motionless in his small niche of monumental biography; and he who, long choosing, began late, is walking up and down in his singing robes, and with laurel

round his head, in the cities of many lands; having his home and his welcome in every devout heart, and upon every learned tongue of the Christian world.

But what of languages ? Not much for the mass of men in business; and till the English tongue be thoroughly mastered, nothing at all. Taking the very highest estimate that has been offered of their attainments, the list of those who have been reputed to have possessed more than ten languages is a very short one. Only four, Mithridates, Pico of Mirandola, Jonadab Alhanæ, and Sir William Jones, are said in the loosest sense to have passed the limit of twenty. To the first two fame ascribes twenty-two, and to the last two twenty-eight languages. Muller, Niebuhr, Fulgence, Fresnel, and perhaps Sir John Bowring, are usually set down as knowing twenty languages. For Elihu Burritt and Csoma de Koros, their admirers claim eighteen. Renaudot, the controversialist, is said to have known seventeen; Professor Lee, sixteen; and the attainments of the older linguists, as Arias Montamus, Martin del Rio, the converted Rabbi Libettas Cominetus, the admirable Crichton, are said to have ranged from this down to ten or twelvemost of them the ordinary languages of learned and of polite society. There are few things in which the folly of mankind is more manifest than in their idolatry of the man who is said to know a number of languages. As an end, such knowledge is absolutely worthless. It has no value but as a means. What better would any Englishman

be for knowing the Italian, the French, the German, the Swedish, and the Russian for every noun contained in his own vocabulary of daily life? He would thus know a multitude more words, but not an additional thing. But it is things, not words, that form the staple of

human knowledge.

Among the greatest of linguists may be found the most ignorant of men. Much, moreover, that has been said on the subject is pure fiction. No man, uninspired, ever knew twenty or thirty languages.


The Letter Box.

[ocr errors]

“I WISH TO ENTER THE MINISTRY.” I Am glad to hear it. Thousands reached by another and a far higher of the right sort of men are wanted. class of motives, are the minds Have you counted the cost? In which we most desire to influence these times, to be sure, it is not and direct toward the work of the very great, but still it is important ministry. The true standard of to count it. Not only can it do no ministerial support is doubtless that harm, but it will prevent disappoint- which will conduce most directly to ment.

spiritual success; and we have no Much has been said of late re- doubt that, in the great majority of specting the reason why young men,

cases in this country, this success in large numbers, do not offer them- would be better secured by someselves for the work of the ministry, what larger salaries. At the same and many are disposed to think time, we would do nothing to exthat the causes of this state of cuse young men from the obligation things are to be found principally that rests upon them to labour in in the hardships incidental to mini- this sacred profession. It is a work sterial life, and to insufficient sup- which God has appointed to be done port. In the various discussions upon the earth; and a young man upon this subject which have been of right character and of right views going on in the public journals, will feel the pressure of this great these earthly motives, as it seems motive upon him, and will go for

have held too prominent a ward, trusting in the Lord for the place, tending to make young men result. feel that they are justly excused for The humblest young man, in the standing aloof, unless the way can poorest section of the Church of be made very smooth and easy for God, has a far better prospect as to them.

earthly good than any of the aposThere is no little danger in allow- tles had on going forth to execute ing this class of motives to mingle the commission of their Divine largely in the appeal which is made Lord. The very first element of to young men upon this subject. preparation for the work is a denial The minds that can be effectually of self, and an assumption of the

to us,

[ocr errors]


cross! The patriot soldier never looks for the comforts of home on the battle-field! That is an after consideration, and the fruit of victory!

The reward of the preacher is peculiar. All his hopes lie in the world to come.

“ He that winneth souls is wise." They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever.” Compared with this, all the rewards on earth are as nothing! The emoluments of earth are but as the dust in the balance, and are wholly beneath the notice of the servants of the Most High God, who show unto men the way of salvation !


vegetables, at cost price. Compare that with the labourer, who has to pay a large profit to the shopkeeper. This advantage cannot be set down at less than 7d. a-week. Then he gets a coat, a pair of trowsers, and a pair of boots every year, a shako every two, and a great-coat every three years. Put this at 1s. a-week, or 52s. a-year. Then he has lodging, bedding, fuel, light, and the use of a library, which would be said to be cheap at 2d. a-day. His medical attendance, at the lowest contract price, would be 2 d. per week. There is a prospective pension of 10d. a-day after twenty-one years' service, which, according to the Northampton tables, could not be purchased at less than 2d. a-week. All this gives a total of 13s. 5d.; but it does not include contingent advantages, such as good-conduct pay, extra rations in hot climates, and rations to soldiers' wives. With our short servitude of ten years, a young man can hardly do better than serve from eighteen to twentyeight. He would return home more capable of supporting himself than when he went out.”

This was all that the Right Hon, Sidney Herbert had to say to the Young Men of England, to induce them to enter the army. Was a more pitiful tale ever told ? Surely it can have weight with none but fools and vagabonds, who prefer even this to honest labour. Let all such remember, however, that they stand a good chance of something additional—the halberts ! A case lately occurred in Newcastle, which merits their notice.

The poor victim, when ordered to

WHO WILL BE A SOLDIER? Nor I! Religious considerations apart, it is but“ a dog's life,--sloth and hunger !” The humblest hodman possesses far more worldly comfort, to say nothing of the horrors of war, from which he is exempt, and his personal freedom, which every soldier consents to part with the moment he receives the bounty. A late Minister of War, at a meeting in the country, volunteered some information respecting the pay of our soldiers, with a view of promoting the recruiting service.

“In addition to his shilling, he is allowed one penny a-day beer money. For 4fd. he receives one pound of bread, and three-quarters of a pound of meat, which cost the Government 61d. Here the soldier has an advantage of 1s. 23. a-week. Again, his cooking is done, and he has extra bread, coffee, sugar, and


strip, sternly and steadily refused. On this, sixteen of the strongest and most muscular men stepped forward, and hurled him, face downward, on the stone pavement of the racket-court. He manfully resisted this indignity, and, with a voice trembling with emotion, requested them to take his life, but spare him this dishonour. A few moments, however, and he was stripped, and tied to the triangles. And now began a scene fitted to appal the stoutest heart. Forth stepped one of the largest drummers, armed with a

cat,” the length of the handle of which was eight inches,

and the nine-tails the same length, with pentagonal pieces of casehardened steel, eighty-one in number. We forbear the description of what followed. Suffice it to say, that it put an end for the season, even among blackguards, to a desire to be a soldier.

Young Men! there is another service to which I invite you, where the war is bloodless, the glory real, and the pension, not tenpence,” but a crown-everlasting! Accept Christ's bounty, then, and enter his service!


The Christian Household.

THE YOUNG MAN AND DEATH, THIS Magazine enters an immense and many fond sisters clung around multitude of families, comprising the brother they loved. Young Men, intelligent, amiable, I returned, and, lo! he that was and active,-full of hopes which so buoyant with health lay pale on will never be realized, and careless a bed of disease-and all his fond of matters which stretch into the hopes seemed about to end in vanity. world of spirits. They are con- His father, pale with anxiety, cerned about everything but that watched over bis sick couch; his which ought to occupy the first

mother and sisters wept in anguish place in their thoughts and affec- of spirit. The disease went on from tions. Let me recite an admoni- day to day, and month to month. tion.

Then it was that they learned I saw a young man lift his head “How vain are all things here below, in pride; there was health in his How false, and yet how fair;" veins, vigour in his limbs, and warm and how exceedingly blessed are ambition in his heart. His dreams they that have a hope in the Sawere of distinction among men. viour; and how soothing to their The world was hardly wide enough sorrows to know that he, the blessed for his lofty schemes of greatness. one, delighted to weep with those His fond father felt flattered with who wept, for he bears the sins of the genius of his son ; his mother those he loved, and carries their foresaw him as the pride of her sorrows. heart, and the delight of her eyes;

Then he that was so sick cast his

« PreviousContinue »