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The mischief, in the case of the spring, was done by a wicked boy, who seemed to love mischief for its own sake. James and Mary had done nothing to offend him, and yet he took a strange pleasure in doing what he knew would vex them. I said he took pleasure in it, but such a boy can hardly be said to take pleasure in anything. He had a depraved heart, and was unhappy, because he loved, or, if you please to say so, took pleasure in doing wrong.
The mischief done to the spring was easily repaired. There is another kind of mischief that no human hand can repair. When one pollutes the heart of another, by infusing wicked thoughts and purposes, no human hand can undo the evil thus done. That heart will continue to be a fountain of bitterness to all eternity, unless it be cleansed by the power of God. Avoid every kind of mischief, but especially avoid doing it to the heart of a fellowimmortal.
FAMILY BERE A VEMENTS.
I was a spectator not long since of one of the most solemn and afflicting scenes it has ever been my lot to witness. It was two corpses in one house ; one a child of six years, the other of but two summers. I had been with the mother, in her period of intense suffering, as she hung over them—both trembling, as they were, upon the confines of the tomb—and I watched with interest, as I do over the exhibitions of human feeling, the unutterable sympathies which were aroused in her heart, for first one and then the other, as fear for either predominated. The one was her firstborn, who had opened in her heart that fountain of feeling, “ whose waters were never more to rest." Until his birth, she knew not that joy which a mother's heart alone can comprehend, of holding in her arms a darling all her own. Alas! for our suffering hearts, that we should fondly deem them so, and then see them suddenly snatched from our embrace by the resistless hand of death. His name endeared him to her, too—the name of the husband, almost adored—a name given in the early years of their companionship, when the joyousness of youth cast a halo of love and beauty over everything around them, and the words, sadness and grief, had found no place in their vocabulary. Besides this, he was their only son! What depths of tenderness does the phrase convey!
Then for the other, there were sufficient reasons why she should be equally dear. She was the youngest, the pet, and pride, and plaything of the house, the joy of their hearth-stone, the delight of their eyes, and she had ever been a feeble infant; they had watched over her with solicitude from the hour of her birth, and to lose her now would be like severing their heart-strings. It is ever thus with us; the one we are about to lose is the dearest.
The home of the bereaved parents was in a country village, where there was no undertaker, to come with silent foot-fall, and length of face assumed from habit; but kind friends stepped forward to perform the last sad offices of affection, and prepare their little bodies for the home appointed for all the living-friends who had stood around the bed of the dying ones, and who had enticed the mother ' away ere the second one breathed its last, and carried her to the home of her sister-fearing the effects of her anxious and painful watchings upon her enfeebled and exhausted frame.
The darlings were shrouded and coffined with care, and looked as calm and sweet in their last repose as if they had never known aught of suffering. The prayer was said by the side of their remains, and then we left with them, to deposit them at their burialground, six miles from town, where some of their kindred slept. As we came near the place, we passed the homes of the servants, and saw them gathered in groups around their doors, and with the ready sympathy of their race, looking sadly toward their master, as if their hearts bled at his sufferings. Among them I recognized the old nurse who had two nights shared my vigils around the sick couch of the suffering boy, and whose affectionate attentions to him, and soothing words, no less than the anxiety she manifested, lest she should unwittingly fall asleep during his slumbers, and so betray her trust, won my admiration.
The sun was just shedding his last rays upon the earth as we stood around the open grave, where the bodies of the dead had been deposited; and as the father stood there, with quivering lip, and tearful, earnest gaze, looking for the last time upon the coffins which contained his children, the voice of the good old man of God broke forth in the comforting and elevating language of the Saviour, “I am the resurrection and the life ; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and he that liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
Oh, of what priceless worth are the consolations of the Bible to us at a time like this! How does the heart of the Christian cling to them, and feed on them in the hour of trial! The Master whom we serve causes his face to shine on us more graciously then, and his love proves to us an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast. How comforting to feel, as we lay away our darlings in the tomb, with its dismal surroundings, that we put them there in the sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection !
S. J. H.
EVENING CONVERSATIONS.-No. III.
BY REV. ROBERT SEWELL.
Sarah. I am glad that we are to spend this evening in discussing some useful subject, as, since the last time we were thus engaged, my mind has become greatly interested in the themes upon which we have already conversed ; and if papa please, I have one to propose for this evening which has long been upon my mind.
Papa. Well, let us hear what it is, and, I doubt not, we shall be willing to make it the foundation of our evening's conversation.
Sarah. I should like to have some information on the origin of languages, the number supposed to be spoken, and which of them is supposed to be the most ancient.
Papa. You have, my daughter, chosen an interesting topic, and perhaps on none other are the opinions of the learned more divided.
John. Is not the word language derived from the Latin word lingua, a tongue ? Papa. It is, and I am happy to find that
can make some good use of your Latin ; you will find it of great assistance in giving you a correct knowledge of the meaning of a large number of words in your native tongue.
Ellen. May we not suppose that language was a gift conferred by our Creator upon our first parents ? :
Papa. This is the general opinion ; although some have doubted it, and they maintain that it was an art, invented and improved by the first races of mankind, until it was brought to the different stages of perfection in which it is now written and spoken by the various polished nations of the earth.
Sarah. As to its being of human invention, I think the Bible at once contradicts that idea ; for we are told, that Adam gave names to all the animals which lived with him in Eden.
Papa. That is indeed conclusive evidence ; and, in my opinion, the gift of speech, next to the immortality of the soul, shows the great superiority of man to the brute creation.
John. I wonder what was the language in which our first parents conversed. I think I have heard Dr. Bass say, that there is a probability of its being the Hebrew; and that, because the names which Adam gave to the animals, denoted in that language something peculiar to their separate natures.
Papa. That is the opinion entertained by many learned meníor Adam means earth, of which man was formed; the Hebrew word for eagle means eye, which, no doubt, had reference to the strong and piercing sight of that bird ; and this, by many, is thought to be decisive proof that the Hebrew was the language of Eden.
Ellen. Does it not appear that all men spake the same language before the flood ?
Papa. We have no proof to the contrary, as it was not till after the flood that God confounded their language, to arrest their presumptuous impiety.
John. I have observed that the preface of your Hebrew Bible, papa, is placed at the end of the book, instead of the beginning ; and the pages are all read from the right to the left hand. Was that the usual way of writing that language ?
Papa. It was, and the Jews to this day, when reading in their synagogues, turn over the leaves of their books, beginning at the back part, and read from right to left, instead of the opposite way in which our modern languages are written and read.
Sarah. There is no other written language that can lay claim to so high an antiquity as the Hebrew. The first writing of which we have any authentic account is the moral law, written by the finger of God, and given to Moses, whose writings in this language are the oldest in existence.
Ellen. Please to tell us, pápa, the meaning of the word Hebrew.
Papa. In plain English it means to pass over, alluding, it is thought, to the passing of Abram over the river, when he left his country, at the call of God, and traveled southward toward Canaan.
John. I have often wondered what those little points and marks signify, which I see placed under the letters in your Hebrew Bible.
Papa. They are used instead of vowels, to show the right sound and pronunciation of the syllables, but they are of modern date, as originally this language was written (as many of the Jewish books are at the present day) without these appendages.
Sarah. Do you suppose, papa, that the number of languages now spoken can be estimated ?
Papa. The number of dialects it is impossible to give. The Bible has been translated into nearly two hundred, but the real number of original languages are supposed to be considerably less than one hundred.
Sarah. It appears to me that languages, like nations, have their infancy, their prime, and their decay.
Papa. They have, indeed, and nothing is so fluctuating, and in no one thing have there been so great improvements made. In the time of Cicero, the Roman tongue was at its highest perfection; and our own language, since the days of Chaucer and Spenser, has become a model of perfection, compared with what it was