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ward, in right lines or curved lines, up hill or down, toward light or toward darkness, through the plains of truth or through the sloughs of error, in an old-fashioned stage-coach or on the wires of the electric telegraph, the agents that operate on society must be especially adapted to each of its individual phases.
Precisely the same newspapers and magazines that a quarter of a century since guided, counseled, and instructed, pleased, profited and blessed, in their visitations from house to house, would, we are quite confident, be generally deemed, among intelligent, thinking men and women, here at the centre of the nineteenth century, rather stale and inefficient.
There is a drift to these remarks, reader; abstract and pointless as they may seem, and the improvement,” as the old divines would say, to which they lead us, and to which, by your leave, we will lead you, is, that we mean to make our monthly a periodical for the times—fresh, lively, readable. We intend to infuse into it so much of the genius of this stirring age, that no one who reads its pages will ever surmise that he must be poring over some old periodical, which, by some mistake, is post dated. In other words, we are determined to throw into our pages such an amount of interest for the general reader, and especially for the maternal reader, as will render us always and everywhere welcome visitors. That our periodical has heretofore been dull and prosy, no one who has been acquainted with its character will affirm. But it will be our aim, during the year now commencing, to make it still more acceptable and useful.
The London RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY was formed in 1799, through the influence of the Rev. George Burder, who was the parent of the British and Foreign Bible Society. At the late jubilee meeting it was stated that it had issued five hundred millions of publications in one hundred and ten languages. The Rev. A. Wells said there were probably those present who would live to celebrate its centenary, as they had now witnessed its jubilee; and he hoped they would then be told by the committee that they had circulated five hundred thousand millions, and that China had been pervaded by its works.
My Mother ! on thy fading brow is many a mark of care;
And now in my maturer days the scenes of youth I trace,
O! cold indeed would be my heart did it refuse to thrill,
Yes ! 'oft when others faithless proved, and I've gone forth to feel,
In all the bliss that I have felt, in all the woe and care,
Then, Mother ! be it mine to give a purer love to thee,
POLITENESS AT HOME.-Nothing sits so gracefully upon children, and nothing makes them so lovely, as habitual respect and dutiful deportment towards their parents and superiors. It makes the plainest face beautiful, and gives to every common action a nameless but peculiar charm.
EVENING CONVERSATIONS.-No. I.
BY REV. ROBERT SEWELL.
As the family of the Howards were seated around the glowing fire, on the last evening of the year, and Sarah, the eldest daughter, had laid down the volume, from which she had been reading an extract of“ Cowper's Winter's Walk at Noon,” they listened to the raging of the snow-storm without, and felt how deeply they were indebted to the Author of all good, that they were so highly favored with the blessings of this life, above what millions of their fellow-creatures enjoyed. The remaining hours of the evening were occupied with the following conversation, in which the two other children, Ellen and John, took an equal and pleasing part.
Papa. I wish you, my dear children, ever to cherish the most lively feelings of gratitude to that kind Providence who has caused you to be placed in a condition so advantageous, both to your temporal and spiritual interests. There are three especial causes which demand your gratitude. 1. That you are born of Christian parents. 2. That you live in a free country; and 3. That you live in an age when there are such facilities for obtaining knowledge and improvement.
John. I think I have read that Alexander the Great often said that he blessed the gods for three things, viz. : 1. That he was born at Macedon. 2. That he was the son of a king. 3. That he had Aristotle for his preceptor.
Papa. These certainly were desirable blessings to a heathen, but fall far below the value of the privileges the Christian enjoys ; yet, I think Alexander's causes of thankfulness rank higher than what the follower of Mahomet often expresses in his sentiments of thanksgiving, viz., that he is neither a Jew, a Christian, nor
Mamma. I think, as we shall very shortly commence another year of our life, a review of the events of the past one will make a theme for our conversation both interesting and profitable.
Papa. Very true; and as we notice the troubles and misery occasioned by war in the Old World, our hearts will rejoice the more, for the great blessing of peace which at present prevails in the midst of us, and for the continuance of which every true lover of his country will never cease to pray. Our country has not been without its changes, also, during the year now nearly closed. Among them we may notice, a new President; emigration to California ; awful visitation of the cholera, and the visit of Father Mathew.
John. I think I should very much like to see President Taylor, as I have not yet seen any one of those honored hold the chief magistracy of our widely-extended republic. Have you, pa, seen any of our presidents when in office ?
Papa. I saw Mr. Van Buren on the car, when he was going through our town. Many of our citizens went to pay their respects to him. We, in this country, do not pay such reverence to our rulers as is the custom in Europe. Here, they are the men of our choice, the servants of the community. There, they often inherit office by birth, or some casual circumstance, and are too apt to consider the people as beings of an inferior order, over whom they are destined to rule, and not unfrequently oppress.
Mamma. The discovery of the gold regions of California seems to me a very wonderful event; not so much for the sake of the metal deposited there, as its being the great cause of peopling the shores of the Pacific Ocean with an enlightened and a free people, whose principles and energy will lay the foundation of a moral and religious community, by whom the Gospel will be sent to the teeming myriads of Asia, while the mother-country is doing the same on the opposite side of the globe. While we view the subject in this light, Providence seems to have thus given to these two Christian nations the means of fulfilling what I have often thought to be their high commission, viz., that of evangelizing the world.
Ellen. I have heard it remarked, that California might perhaps be the ancient Ophir, from whence Solomon obtained such an abundance of gold.
Papa. I can see no good reason for such an idea. The power of the load-stone being not then known, the imperfect knowledge of navigation, and the method of building vessels, as well as the distance of these regions from Palestine, appear to render it altogether but a visionary conjecture.
John. Will you be kind enough, papa, to tell us the meaning of the word Ophir ?
Papa. The literal meaning of the word Ophir is dust, of which we hear a great deal has been collected in California. If you turn to your Bible, at 1 Chron. chap. i. ver. 23, you will there find mention of a person of that name, the son of Joktan, and the country might have been called after him ; but whether it was upon the Asiatic or the African coast, is at present, and likely to remain so, unknown.
Sarah. If, during the past year, the discovery of these golden mines is an event of note, and has filled the minds of many with golden dreams, the visitation of the cholera has been a providence of a different and an awful nature, and we cannot be too thankful that God has preserved us from its fearful and fatal effects.
Papa. The pestilence is mentioned in the Bible, as one of the chief instruments in the hand of God by which he often punished the nations of old.
Ellen. I suppose, papa, the plague, a disease which we have often heard visits both Egypt and Turkey, is not more destructive to human life than the cholera of the present day. I remember reading in history of the plague at Athens, as recorded by Thucydides, when its victims were so tormented by thirst, that numbers of them died while lying down, and drinking from the streams that abound in that country.
Papa. That was indeed an awful visitation, and took place during a long civil war, between two rival States in Greece ; appearing as if Heaven, by this judgment, was frowning upon their unnatural and bloody contentions.
Mamma. Mention, my dear Ellen, some of those pestilences which are recorded in the Bible. It is always well to refresh our memories with the afflictions as well as the mercies of God.
Ellen. The death of the first-born in Egypt; the people that fell in the wilderness, for their murmurings; the visitation upon