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Observe the course of that brook, said a teacher to his scholars. It pursues its quiet path through valley and meadow, and reflects in the bright mirror of its waters the image of the blue sky above. It waters the trees and shrubs which grow upon its banks, and its cool vapour refreshes the flowers and plants around it.
Again it flows through a barren, sandy wild ; there its blessings terminate. Still, however, it remains the same clear and refreshing stream, though there be no objects to receive its blessings.
And now a wild boar rushes into the stream, and splashes about in its lovely waters. These supply the animal with drink, and cool his burning sides, and the mud which he has raised from the bottom settles again of itself.
Next a weary traveller bends over the bank of the rivulet; it quenches his thirst and cools his fevered brow, and he pursues his way refreshed and happy.
Where is the source and spring of this beneficent stream ?
Look up yonder. Do you see that towering peak, and yonder cavern encompassed with rocks? There, far in the bosom of the earth, is the hidden spring of the rivulet.
Whence, then, came its inexhaustible source ?
Behold! the mountain top raises itself towards heaven, enveloped in dewy clouds.
Where is the end and final destination of the stream ?
It advances with gradually increased strength until it is received into the arms of the mighty ocean, and thence it returns to heaven whence it first descended.
Thus spake the teacher; and his disciples saw in his words the image of Divine Love.
THE NEW BUILDING.
A gentleman inherited from a rich relative a wide extent of land, together with a village; but the land was swampy and unproductive. The new possessor caused the stagnant waters and swamps to be drained, and all kinds of trees and shrubs to be planted on it, so that in course of time it became a finely cultivated garden.
Some years afterwards the proprietor received a visit from the instructor of his youth, and he showed him how he had drained the barren waste, and transformed it into a delightful garden. The old man was much pleased, and he praised both the general plan and the particular arrangements. The owner then informed him that he intended to plant still more, and to rear all kinds of game in the woods, and he described in glowing terms the pleasure which he expected to arise from this transformation.
His tutor replied, “ Thou has well merited this gratification, for thou hast, after the Divine example, converted the dead waste into a place of life and enjoyment; but one thing is yet wanting to complete the work.”
“ What is that?'' asked his friend.
“Knowest thou not,” replied he, “that when the Almighty had finished the Garden of Eden, he placed man in it ?"
The proprietor was silent, and pondered the words of the old man; and when, in the next year, he was again visited by the faithful tutor, he conducted him to the extremity of his property.
Here stood two neat new edifices.
The old man smiled, pressed the hand of his friend, and said, “I was certain that thou wouldest understand me. Now hath love completed the work."
The two buildings were, one an orphan house, the other a school.
Two Travellers once rested on their journey at an inn, when suddenly a cry arose that there was a fire in the village.
One of the travellers immediately sprang up and ran off to afford assistance.
But the other strove to detain him, saying, “Why should you waste your time? Are there not hands enough to assist ? Why concern ourselves about strangers ?”
His friend, however, listened not to his remonstrances, but hastened to the fire, the other following and looking on at a distance.
A woman rushed out of the burning house screaming, crying “My children! my children!”
When the stranger heard this, he darted into the house among the burning timbers, while the flames raged fiercely around him. “He will surely perish!” cried the spectators.
But after a short time, behold, he came forth with scorched hair, carrying two young children in his arms, and delivered them to their mother. She embraced the infants, and fell at the stranger's feet, but he lifted her up and comforted her. The house soon after fell with a terrible crash.
As the stranger and his companion returned to the inn, the latter said, “Who bade thee risk thy life in such a dangerous attempt?”
“He,” answered the first, “who bids me put the seed into the ground, that it may decay, and bring forth new fruit.”
“But if thou hadst been buried among the ruins ? ”
His companion smiled, and said, “Then should I myself have been the seed!”
Strephon, a distinguished Grecian youth, said one day to his master, “I should like to go to Delphi, to consult the oracle regarding my future destiny. I should then be able to order my life much better, and to choose with more certainty the path of wisdom.”
“ If this be thy wish,” said the tutor, “I will accompany thee."
When they arrived at Delphi, the youth traversed with a feeling of awe the ground that surrounded the sanctuary. They reached the temple, and sat down opposite to it. The youth noticed the inscription over the entrance :
“ Know Thyself."
" What meaneth this?” said he to his teacher.
“It is easily explained," replied the latter. “ Consider who thou art, and for what end thou wert created, A man should learn to know himself, before he can fathom the counsels of the Almighty.”
“Who am I then?" asked the youth.
“Thou art Strephon," replied the other, “the son of the Virtuous Agathias. Behold, that which thinks within thee, and which is about to learn its destiny from the lips of the priest—that spirit is thyself. This is destined to govern thy actions, and to mould thy whole life into one high and consistent whole. Thou wilt thus become like the Deity, and happy in thyself; for the man whose spirit rules his body may be com pared to a well-tuned instrument, which produces only delightful harmony. But, on the other hand, he who is governed by fleshly passions and desires is a slave, and sensual lusts lead him captive at their pleasure. Whoever, then, is sensible of his true destiny, and examines how far he has advanced towards the goal, or deviated from the right path—such an one truly knows himself.”
Strephon was silent. His teacher then said, “Let us now enter the sacred fane!”
But the former replied, “No, my dear master, the inscription is enough for me; I am ashamed of my foolish desire, and I see that I have too much to do with myself and with the present, to concern myself about the future.”
“ Thou wilt not regret thy journey,” said the preceptor; " thou hast attained thine aim and heard the voice of the Deity. Thou art on the road to wisdom; the first step is humility, and this is the first fruit of the knowledge of one's self.”
There was once a traveller who had a long and arduous journey to make, but he was not acquainted with the road; he therefore enquired about it of another traveller, who had gone the same road several times. The latter explained to him the by-ways and precipices that were to be avoided; the rivers he would have to cross over; and the mountains and rocky passes he would be obliged to ascend: and he gave him a map on which the whole road was clearly and distinctly laid down. The traveller paid great attention to the directions of his kind friend, and treasured up all his cautions and advice. Thus he arrived without accident at a lofty range of mountains, whose tops pierced the clouds, and where the road lost itself among rocks and precipices.
But there his courage failed him; and he looked tremblingly upwards and said, “It is impossible to proceed farther, or to climb these inaccessible crags. Would that I could meet with another guide, to show me how to proceed along this rugged