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“When they met together, one read the new version, while all the rest held in their hands either copies of the original, or some valuable version; when they observed any objectionable passage, the reader paused till they considered and agreed on it.” They met at Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster. They commenced the work in 1607, and finished it in three years. It was published in 1611. This is evidently the best translation of the Bible in existence. How could it fail from being correct when such care was taken in its preparation. Let us be thankful that we have, in our own language, the pure word of God.
In translating from one language into another it is always necessary to supply words to make the sense clear. These supplied words are put in Italics in our English Bibles, that the reader may see which they are. They are generally merely connecting words, or words which do not change the sense, nor add to it but only make it more plain. Of this any one can convince himself by opening the Bible anywhere and reading, omitting the words in italics.
The Bible was not divided into chapters till the year A. D. 1240; it was done by Hugo de Sancto Caro, a Dominican Monk; he did it in order to make reference to any part more easy, as he wrote a Commentary on the Scriptures, and projected the first Concordance. Hugo did not divide it into verses, but placed the letters of the alphabet along the margin at an equal distance from each other to facilitate references to small portions of the Bible. It was divided into verses, as we now have it, by a Jewish Rabbi named Mordecai Nathan, about the year 1445.
Having said so many things to you, dear reader, about the Bible, permit me to tell thee only one thing more: It is able to make thee wise unto salvation !
BLESSED BE THY NAME.
THE TWO ROADS.
It was New Year's night. An aged man was standing at a window. He raised his mournful eye toward the deep blue sky, where the stars were floating like white lilies on the surface of a clear calm lake. Then he cast them on the earth, where few more hopeless beings than himself now moved towards their certain goal—the tomb. Already he had passed sixty of the stages which lead to it, and he had brought from his journey nothing but errors and remorse. His health was destroyed, his mind vacant, his heart sorrowful, and his old age devoid of comfort. The days of his youth rose up in a vision before him, and he recalled the solemn moment when his father had placed him at the entrance of two roads, one leading into a peaceful sunny land, covered with a fertile harvest, and resounding with soft sweet songs; while the other conducted the wanderer into a deep dark cave, whence there was no issue, where poison flowed instead of water, and where serpents hissed and crawled.
Ile looked toward the sky, and cried out in his agony: "Oh youth return! Oh my father, place me once more at the entrance to life, that I may choose the better way.”
But the days of his youth and his father had both passed away. He saw wandering lights floating far away over dark marshes, and then disappear—those were the days of his wasted life. He saw a star fall from heaven and vanish in darkness. This was an emblem of himself; and the sharp arrows of unavailing remorse struck him to the heart. Then he remembered his early companions, who entered life with him, but who, having trod the path of virtue and of labor, were now happy and honored on this New Year's night. The clock in the high tower struck, and the sound falling on his ear, recalled his parents' early love for him, their erring son ; the lessons they had taught him ; the prayers they had offered up on his behalf. Overwhelmed with shame and grief, he dared no longer look towards that heaven where his father dwelt ; his darkened eye dropped tears, and with one despairing effort he cried aloud, “Come back, my early days! come back !"
And his youth did return; for all this was but a dream which visited his slumbers on New Year's night. He was still young; his faults alone were real. He thanked God fervently that time was still his own, that he had not yet entered the deep, dark cavern, but that he was yet free to tread the road leading to the peaceful land, where sunny harvests wave.
Ye who still linger on the threshold of life, doubting which path to choose, remember that when years are passed, and your feet stumble on the dark mountain, you will cry bitterly, but cry in vain—"Oh youth, return! Oh give me back my early days!"
BY REV. H. HARBAUGH.
ANOTHER year is gone! Ah! did we not know it would come to an end! We saw the daily-nightly-movements of the planetary heavens which revolve in their grand cycles above us age after age, and
In mystic dance, not without song, resound
His praise, who, out of darkness, called up light, This "dread magnificence of heaven,” ever changing and yet ever the same, is the horology of the great Eternal—the vast time-piece by which He measures ages for all his
creatures. It has a dial-plate upon each planet, and a be!l! Behold on ours the gnomon stands to the striking point! Hark !-count, as it rolls the solemn dirge-sound of the departed year over our hearts.
As if an angel spoke
A dread eternity! how surely mine! Did we not know the year would glide away? On our mantle stood the clock, with its silent swinging pendulum, with its ever-moving hands, and with its solemn tick! tick! tick! It was measuring not only our days, and hours, and moments, but our lives. At every tick there dropped one of life's sandsand life was less !
We take no note of the movements of time, because it moves so silently. Poets have well said that it steals life away. The scriptures have well said that it is like a dream ; when one awakes he knows not how long he has dreamed. Quietly one moment hands us over to the next, which is not the next, for
another still recieves us. When we would arrest a moment to examine it, behold it is gone, and another has glided gently into its place.
Night-dews fall not more gently to the ground,
Nor weary, worn out winds expire so soft. But what changes follow in its silent wake! We grow old. We grow gray. We grow better. We grow worse. Childhood recedes. Old age, the grave, our account, and our fixed, eternal condition, are ever nearer to us. The next breath
lift the mystic curtain, and-behold all that we hope for or fear !
Now that the year has closed, do we look back to review it? What a checkered scene of joys and sorrows, of hopes and fears, of follies and sins, of meetings and partings, makes up the landscape over which we now cast a retrospective look. Who can record the fortunes and the fate of the million, as they crowd together-and often against each other !-over the plain of life? Their lives have been as various as their faces. Their good and their evil have their different shades like the landscape of autumn. No two tears are alike in bitterness, no two groans have the same music, no two smiles show the same features of light and love.
These reflections are not sad. —we protest, they are not sad. Change, tears, death, are not evils in themselves. They are only evils to the evil. They are only sad to the sinful. They are only dark to those who sce not the light that dawns with joyful promise beyond them.
CHANGE—it is but progress into a higher sphere. It is but the decay of what ought to die. Is the lily sad because it changes in growing, and puts on new beauty in every change! Is the butterfly sad, because it has changed from a vile, worm-like larva to a golden-winged inhabitant of the upper air ? And shall we be sad at change, when it is but the old passing into the new, the lower into the higher, the partial into the perfect.
Tears—they are lenses in the eye, which enable us to see farther into the hidden heavens. Tears water the germs endless life in us, if they flow as "godly sorrow.
The light reflected from these sacred drops, gives color to the rainbow of promise—the brightest against the darkest skies. The landscape looks loveliest when suffused with dew; and when the sun arises a thousand drops sparkle upon blade and bloom, and when they pass away they leave a new glow of life and beauty in the place where they perished. Similar is the effect of tears. They wash the eyes and brighten our vision. Besides, prophets are they, proclaiming, like dew-fall, that it will soon be morning.
DEATH-death is only death when viewed from the mortal side. When viewed from the eternal side it is birth! Death in us, as in flowers, is but the falling of the petals, that the fruit may grow in its place.
Gently-so have good men taught-
Into the new.
Thousands have welcomed it-smiled at its appearing, and gladly gone at its beckoning to the land where they change not, weep not, and die no more.
Were these evils in themselves, it would not be written that the Saviour passed through changes—that he wept—that he died. O you, whose eyes are now on this page, and whose thoughts are now with mine, if you are not reconciled to change, tears and death, you are not reconciled to God-you are not willing to be born into a higher life-you yield not in sweet submission to the Father's drawings upward—and it is not a prayer when you say: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven !"
New Year-change-tears—death! so have our thoughts run ; but, we repeat, not sadly. This is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith. Our thoughts wander back over the wrecks of the Past, like green, blooming vines over doleful ruins, themselves no part of what passes away. We look around upon the Present serenely, and see dying what ought to die, and living what ought to live. We look into the Future !—Oh it is the realm of hope. It hath a glorious harvest to them that sow. With heart turned up to Thee, believingly, 0 Father, we pass from the Old upon the threshold of the New Year. It shall be better !-yes, it shall be better than the Old. Change, tears, perhaps death, will make it better. 0, adorable Saviour. it shall be better!
Sweet Childhood, thee no rankling woes pursue,