Page images

gold in the four corners. Even the staves were to be overlaid with gold. Similar directions were given as to the table of shew-bread and the altar of incense. And Soloraon garnished the house of the Lord with gold.

The Egyptians appear to have been familiar with the manufacture of gold. The gold leaf still found in and about mummy-cases, some thousands of years old, proves not only that they had an abundant supply of the precious metal, but were acquainted with the art of gilding. Their making of golden ornaments and golden vases, of large size and beautiful workmanship, might be inferred from various incidental notices in ancient writers; but it is placed beyond all doubt by the representations of Rosellini. Among these are numerous vases of a golden colour, many of them showing not only manual dexterity, but also considerable taste. A picture in the tomb of Rameses IV. contains a golden vase of great beauty, supported by two Philistines. In addition to the above and other ornamental purposes, gold is extensively used, in the form of coin, as the medium of exchange. The people of Asia undoubtedly possessed gold money from an early age. The few remaining gold coins of Greece appear not to have been struck until the age of Alexander the Great. But on the rise of the Macedonian Empire gold coins became plentiful through the country.

Gold was first coined in Rome B.c. 207. The common size of their pieces was probably about the same as that of our sovereigns; but some existed in size only one quarter of our half-sovereigns, and representing about 2s. 6d. in silver. Gold coin contains about onetwelfth part, by weight, of copper, which is added to give it hardness, and consequently renders it more durable.

Before gold is ready for the above uses it has to be thoroughly purified and rendered soft. This is done by placing it in a white-heat furnace. When the metal has been sufficiently subjected to the heat, all the dross appears on the surface, which the refiner carefully

From this refining process gold receives no injury whatever. Pure gold is so fixed that Boerhave says, • An ounce of it set in the eye of a glass furnace for two months did not lose a single grain.” Well will it be for the “thoughtful boys” or others who read this paper, if in that day when their work is “ tried as by fire” it be found to stand the process even as the pure gold.

Gold is ever regarded as one of the “precious” things of the earth. But there is something yet more precious. When the sorrow, stricken man of Uz" got a bright glimpse of the excellency and beauty of that wisdom whose highest fruit is the fear of the Lord, and whose chief influence is to depart from evil, he felt that all the precious things of the earth were as nought compared with it, because they cannot secure it to a single soul. * It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold” (Job xxviii., 15-17).


[ocr errors]

Precious, then, above gold, and above rubies and precious stones, is wisdom.' "Get wisdom, and with all thy getting get understanding."

Wisdom Divine ! who tells the price
Of wisdom's costly merchandise ?
Wisdom to silver we prefer,
And gold is dross compared to her.
Happy the man who wisdom gains,
Thrice happy, who bis guest retains ;
He owns, and shall for ever own,
Wisdom, and Christ, and Heaven are one.


[ocr errors]



(Continued from page 15.) HE next figure that meets our gaze in turning over the pages of our Album is that of_ IV.-MR. STORM, THE EXCITABLE AND FIDGETY

SUPERINTENDENT. He is not without some good qualities in the depth of his heart, but on the surface there is often too much foam and fury. A little thing will put him into a stew. It is true he soon gets out, but it is none the less true that he is soon in again. The visits of the furies are not few, neither are they far between. When others are calm and cheerful, he is as cross as though he was being shaved with a dull razor, or as if he were a child cutting its double teeth. How often I have heard him say that he “wants order, that he will hare order," and to get order he thumps the Bible and desk, stamps, and shouts, and rings, and threatens; but order does not make its appearance. It might be some spirit he was trying to call up from the vasty deep, or some timid, quiet creature that was running away, and that ran all the faster the more Friend Fidgety shouted and screamed. Poor man! he ought ere this to bave known that order was not to be thus secured. Look at his face. Discontent is on his brow, anger in his eye, a kind of childish pout is upon his lips. Watch his movements; dashing about here and there, upsetting stools or benches, running against scholars and teachers, sweating and bustling. Listen to his voice, in excited tones he says, “I will stand it no longer; I will give up and leave the school," and some of the teachers are wicked enough to wish that he would either leave the school or learn to rule his own spirit. Our friend did leave the school;

but he did not find true repose even then, nor will he, till he more fully learns of Him who is “ meek and lowly in heart.”

[ocr errors]

Rest is not quitting the busy career ;
Rest is the fitting of self to its sphere.
'Tis the brook's motion-clear without strife ;
Fleeing to ocean after its life.
Deeper devotion nowhere had knelt;
Fuller emotion heart never felt.
'Tis loving and serving the highest and best.

'Tis onwards! unswerving-and that is true rest. The next " carte" is that of

V.-MR. DO-IT-WELL, THE EXCELLENT TEACHER. His excellence does not depend upon any one single quality, but upon a cluster of sterling and noble virtues. It is not a matter of rank, or polish, or wealth, but of intelligence, efficiency, and love love that does not wax cold-love that burns, and flames, and inspires him with a glowing enthusiasm, that makes him a burning and shining light in the Sunday school. If it be at all possible, he is always at his post, and he is at in time. When he reaches it he has something to say, and, better still, he knows how to say it, and when and why. While Mr. Prosy is spinning his long yarn amid a yawning, restless class, and Mr. Study-Little is offering again and again the same stale and mouldy crusts to the hungry souls of his scholars, Mr. Do-it-Well is pouring forth fresh and living truths in simple and winning words, which words the lads drink in with eager and delighted hearts. His lesson has cost him something. It has cost him careful reading, close reflection, fervent prayer, and brave self-denial. It is said that the arrow of the huntsman is sure to hit the mark if it has first been dipped in the huntsman's blood. Well, our friend first dips the truth in the life-blood of his own soul, in depths of sympathy, solicitude, and thought. It is not a message spoken simply from the throat outward ; it wells up from the unsealed and sacred fountains of love, knowledge, and purity.

The boys are passionately fond of this wise and manly instructor ; the superintendent sets an unspeakable value upon this energetic helper, and the school generally delights to look at this cheery, sunnyfaced man, who, in mind, strength, and devotion stands head and shoulders above many of his fellow teachers.

He not only means well and says well—he does well. He works cheerfully, heartily, and efficiently. After his conversion, his first prayer was, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?” And when his life-work is completed he anticipates with lowly, joy a gracious welcome from his adored Master, wh ill say unto him, “ Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

VI.-MISS AIMLESS. That is the name of the lady whose likeness we see on the next page of our Album. How or why her name was put on the teachers' roll I cannot tell ; neither can she. It is on; all I can say is that it is

not much of an ornament to the roll, and she is not of much use in the class. She never could give any clear and satisfactory account of herself being there at all. It was certainly not because of any special fitness, or real desire, or resolute endeavour on her part. Possibly there was a scarcity of teachers; or she might have been offended if she had not been asked when others of similar age and standing were being appointed to classes ; or it may be that her parents, being persons of influence at the chapel, might feel pleased if she was thus noticed. But little or no good has come of the appointment. No good was clearly and firmly aimed at by our young friend. All along, indeed, she has aimed at nothing and hit it.

From the Post Office Returns we learn that last year over 20,000 letters were sent to nobody; they bore no address, and so landed in the Dead Letter Office. I cannot tell how many lessons Miss Aimless has taught, whose course and destiny has been as blank, dreary, and dead as the course and destiny of the 20,000 letters. She has no definite plan of teaching : no settled purpose giving unity and vigour to her whole movements. She enters the school with listless or wandering gaze; chats and trifles with any light-minded, lazy teacher or official; wonders what she must have for a lesson ; wishes lessons would come of themselves, and then teach themselves ; talks silly stuff to the girls, and when tired of this reads them a shilly-shally book ; is impatient for the bell to ring for closing, and soon it does to her infinite relief. Now, before we turn to the next portrait let me say that in Miss Aimless, while there is much to blamē, there is much to pity, and something to hope for. She was never taught when young ihat life-that her life--should have a given plan and a grand purpose ; that to live a random, purposeless life was a sin and a shame. She is not without capacity and goodness. There is dormant force in that brain, and latent fire in that soul, just as there were many good and precious things, costly jewels, sterling coins in some of those 20,000 letters. Looking at her face and watching her movements you may see fickleness and irresolution; but if, by the grace of God, she is thoroughly converted, and the constraining love of Christglows in her soul, then she too may say, "This one thing I do," and with true womanly tenderness and courage labour on until she also can say, I have finished the work Thou hast given me to do.'

VII.—THE EARNEST SCHOLAR. This likeness is but a faint and poor picture of a lad I met with years ago in a Sunday school in the North of England. In early life he became a disciple of Jesus, and right nobly did he serve his great Redeemer.

But he was earnest before he was converted-earnest in work, in play, and possibly in mischief too. He formed one of a group of boys who attended the same Sunday school. An extraordinary feeling of anxiety for the conversion of souls had been awakened in the school and Church, Special services were being held, repenting prodigals were coming back to their Father's house. One night, amid an influence which bowed almost all present into stillness, and reverence, and prayer, this lad arose, left his seat, came forward to the communion with tears and cries, and asked God to forgive his sins. And God did forgive his sins, and filled his young heart with great gladness. But mark the earnestness of which I have spoken. No sooner had he found Jesus than he went back to the pews, and soon I saw him pleading with his companions, beseeching them to come to Jesus, and not in vain. Some fifteen or twenty fine, energetic lads were gathered into the Church. After serving his Lord only a few years, this earnest scholar was promoted to the holier service and happier fellowship of the Church in Glory. Underneath this portrait I might very appropriately write, “ With both hands, earnestly."

VIII.—THE TIMID SCHOLAR. Before we close the Album for this month, let me ask you to look at the likeness of this esteemed young friend. You see in her face some indication of her timidity and weakness. Whenever I have seen her -and I have seen her often—she has been gentle, patient, and quiet. Yet she is not cowardly; she is as far from that as she is from bluster and show.

I never heard her say much for Christ, but I have often admired the beauty and stillness of her temper, and the rare consistency of her deportment. The means of grace she attended with regularity, rarely missing the class-meeting, although she could never raise enough of confidence to speak. Butif she could not speak for Jesus there, she could cheerfully brave the sneers and oaths of an ungodly father, when those sneers were directed at her prayers; she could bear gladly the scorn of her old companions, from whom she separated herself when she became a Christian; she could hold on her way in spite of the banter and impiety of workmates and relatives. She may be timid, but she is really a good, noble, pure girl, and is thus able to resist the sternest foes.

"'Tis said that a lion will turn and flee

From a maid in the pride of her purity.”




OM! Tom !” said a feeble voice, “I am going.”

“Going where ?" said Tom, a boy of about nine
summers, who was sitting by the expiring fire, but
rose as he spoke and went to the side of the woman
who had broken the silence : his poor sick mother.

Going to your father,” said she, “and to leave you all alone in this wide, wide world.” Here she was obliged to stop, her

« PreviousContinue »