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COMPANION. I might also tire your patience, if the Editor would allow us space for the task. For myself, I like to read and study standard works on the various subjects of human inquiry and thought. Still I confess that no one welcomes with a more glad heart the “ Magazine-day," than does Uncle Joseph. He has at times periodicals on his table that he either purchases, or gets from two or three libraries to which he has access, varying in price from a penny to six shillings. In their perusal he spends many a happy hour. He hopes too that his mind and heart are improved by them. And it is an interesting fact, my young friends, that many of the most powerful thinkers, and brilliant writers that this country has produced, during the last hundred years and more, have begun their literary career by contributing to periodicals.
More than seventy years ago the Rev. John Wesley began what was then called the “ Arminian Magazine.” He was alive to the opportunity thus presented of spreading Gospel truth; and it is impossible to calculate the amount of good that has resulted from his influence and example in this one particular. Well, we as a body of Christians wish to serve our generation by the will of God. Hence our Book-room not only publishes this JUVENILE COMPANION, it also publishes a larger magazine; and I am sure that if either you or your parents were to take it in, you would, by its perusal, be both interested and edified. TR 1.
My letter is getting long. I must soon finish my work for my young friends for this year. Will you accompany me and the Editor, and the other writers for this magazine, during the ensuing year? Will you each try to get one fresh subscriber to it? If so, I will promise you that my very best efforts shall be put forth to render this series of Letters much more interesting and instructive in the coming year, than in the one that now closes. I fancy I hear my! young friends saying, “ Well, I will do my best.” So will Uncle Joseph, then.
In one of my former letters I gave you eight lines of poetry that I called, in. a mistake, “ Tennyson's.” I here correct myself, and close my letter by giving you the whole
poem. It is by H. W. Longfellow, of America. If you will each learn it by heart, I will promise to begin my letters for next year, by one on Poetry.
THE PSALM OF LIFE..
And the grave is not its goal ;
Was not spoken of the soul.
Is our being's destined way;
Finds us further than to-day.
In the bivouac of Life,
Be a hero in the strife.
Let the dead Past bury its dead;
Heart within and God o'er head !
We can make our lives sublime; .
Foot-prints on the sands of time,-
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
With a heart to any fate;
Learn to labour, learn to wait.
I am yours, affectionately,
BRIEF REMARKS ON TIME. Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, and the present becomes the past; even while we attempt to define it, and like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires. Time is the measurer of all things, but is itself immeasurable; and the grand discloser of all things, but is itself undisclosed. Like space, it is incomprehensible, because it has no limit, and it would be still more so if it had. It advances like the slowest tide, but retreats like the swiftest torrent. It gives wings to pleasure, but feet of lead to pain, and lends expectation a curb, but enjoyment a spur. It robs beauty of her charms, to bestow them on her picture; builds a monument to merit, but denies it a house; it is the transient and deceitful flatterer of falsehood, but the tried and final friend of truth.
Time is the most subtle yet the most insatiable of depredators, and by appearing to take nothing, is permitted to take all ; nor can it be satisfied, until it has stolen the world from us, and us from the world. It constantly flies, yet overcomes all things by flight, and although it is the present ally, it will be the future conqueror, of death.
Time, the cradle of hope, but the grave of ambition, is the stern corrector of fools, but the salutary councillor of the wise; bringing all they dread to the one, and all they desire to the other ; but like Cassandra, it warns us with a voice that even the sages discredit too long, and the silliest believe too late. Wisdom walks before it, opportunity with it, and repentance behind it: he that has made it his friend, will have little to fear from his enemies; but he that made it his enemy, will have little to hope from his friends.
THE BIRTH OF CHRIST. It is the still quiet of midnight. How softly fall the quiet moonbeams on the lofty hills and verdant glades of Palestine, Let us soar away, on thought's weariless wing, to that blest
land so loved of Heaven. Upon these moonlight plains, David, the shepherd king, once tuned his golden harp to notes harmonious with the morning stars. Here the ancient prophets, mighty men of God, sat in humble silence, listening to the words of Him who spoke as man had never spoken.
Seest thou that band of shepherds reclining beneath the spreading branches of the dark-leaved olive, while their snowy flocks repose in peace around them? But see: what star is that shooting across the azure heavens? It haih passed, leasing in its path a flood of rosy light. Brighter and still brighter glow the opening heavens. But look again, what majestic form is that, so glorious in its beauty! He bends his glittering wings to earth, while pale with dread the Syrian shepherds veil their faces in the dust. “Fear not, the angel said, for unto you this day is born in Bethlehem's town a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” Wherice is that blaze of light? The stars refuse to shine, the gentle moon withdraws her feeble rays, for on the earth and in the heavens appear a host of shining ones. They sweep their golden harps, and with full harmonious voices swell the lofty anthem, “ Glory be to God most high, and to the earth be peace.” The angel choir have disappeared, and all is still again. No sound is heard, save the sweet murmuring streams, repeating to the bright-eyed flowers which cluster round its banks the wondrous songs of glory and of peace. The shepherds have awoke from their strange dream of terror, and now they cry in joyful tones, “Let us hasten unto Bethlehem to greet the new born prince.”
Seest thou yon stately inn? 'Tis filled with sleeping strangers from every part of this fair land. Reposing on their downy pillows in the curtained chamber, they see not earth s angel guests, they hear not the heavenly melody. One glittering star appears in solitary grandeur in the clear bright heavens. It stands above the manger, bathing that lowly place in floods of rosy light. Let us enter there. Tread lightly, for 'tis holy ground.
Upon a couch of straw, reclines a fair young inother and her faultless babe. Her soft white arms are twined around the helpless form of infancy. Her meek, tearful eyes are raised to heaven in earnest supplication. Her voice scarce uttered, soft and low as zephyr's gentlest sigh, though soft and slow, yet heard in heaven, heard at the mercy-seat.
Fear not, gentle mother. The helpless babe reclining on thy bosom, is no other than the Prince of Peace. No palace walls encircle thee; no purple canopy waves its gorgeous folds above thy head; no rich carpet woven in India's loom, muffles the approaching footsteps; but the glory of the Lord is all around thee, and the rude rafters and the humble stall seemed bathed in heaven's own light. No titled lord with jewelled robe and honeyed lip is pressing forward eager to win a smile from royalty, but the humble shepherds adore him, offering unto God that sacrifice which is ever pleasing in his sight, an humble, grateful, and confiding heart.
Look for a moment on that venerable group standing beside the shepherds. The lofty arch of the dark eyebrow, the black glossy beards, and turbaned brow, all speak Eastern origin. They had heard in their own land of Israel's God. While pondering o'er their sacred books, they read the wondrous prophecy, “A star shall come from Judah, and a royal standard wave o'er Israel, upon the hills of Palestine shall appear a mighty prince, who shall sway his sceptre over all the earth, and of his kingdom there shall be no end." They saw the dazzling meteor in the heavens, and knew that the illustrious prince had come. Then they, with joyful hearts and winged footsteps, hastened to the holy city and the flowery plain, eagerly inquiring, where is the mighty one, king of the Jews ? By God's unerring hand directed, they sought the lowly manger. They have laid their costly gifts at Messiah's feet, and now they stand gazing in silence on the wondrous scene. Well may they gaze! It is a strange, bright scene. No mortal pen can e'er portray its loveliness. Immanuel is here—The first-born sons of light are bending o'er his couch, chanting, in soft melodious tones the matin hymn---while the High and Holy One, with arms of everlasting love, encircles both the mother and her babe." But, see! the morning light is breaking o'er the hills. The angels' forms are growing dim, they disappear. The bleating flocks recall the shepherds to their toil. The wise men spread their