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•THE LAND OP THE RISTNG SUN.'
T DARE say few of my young friends A require to be told that a land, called by such a poetic name, is in the eastern hemisphere, far away from these British isles of ours. But they may not all know that Japan, during the last few years, has been growing in intelligence and power among the nations of the earth; and that her progress, as she fulfils her history, is more and more like that of the sun, brightening as he goes on his way. The sea washes the shores of Japan, as it does our island home. Hitherto the waters have been as her bulwark; now they are a highway, by which many blessings are conveyed to her waiting people.
One who knows very well about these countries, which you and I never saw, the Rev. Dr. Williamson, tells us that the Japanese 'seem like a people awakened out of a long sleep, and face to face with a world immensely ahead of them.' But it will not be long immensely ahead, if they follow the path on which they have entered. I will tell you how I feel quite sure of this: it is because the people in Japan are willing to be taught, and are very anxious to learn.
The ruler, who is called the Mikado, used to be regarded as a god. This man was formerly kept quite sacred; no one was allowed to see him; but now he comes out among his subjects, and receives foreign visitors, some of them connected with the governments of other nations. Ignorant people may think this is rather a downcome for a mighty emperor, who was formerly thought too grand for common eyes to look upon, but such people would be much mistaken. The more anxious a man is to do his duty, the more truly great he becomes; and the more a king meets with intelligent fellow creatures, learns from them, sees where he can with profit copy a good example, or avoid a bad one, the more able will he be to reign over the nation God has placed under his care.
Were you arriving, which perhaps you will some day, at one of the ports of Japan,
you would see all around you proofs of the great desire to learn and improve on the part of the Japanese. In some of the streets, the eastern and western hemispheres seem to meet . Many of the comforts and luxuries that we have here have been adopted there, but with an eastern stamp, as it were, affixed. They have been imported, as business people would say, and as yet have a foreign look about them. In place of our cabs, you would see rather large sized perambulators, with a grown-up lady or gentleman, instead of a baby, sitting in state, and a man, a very swift runner, drawing the vehicle along, not at the leisurely pace of our perambulators, but with a speed nearly as great as that of our hackney coaches. Beautiful shops, . with their tempting windows, are seen in the finer streets of Yeddo, one of their towns. They have an ornament that we can boast of in only very few of our cities. Rows of beautiful apricot, peach, plum, and other flowering trees, border the highway, giving the refreshing, invigorating feeling always imparted by plants and shrubs—creations of God, fresh from His hand—which here we enjoy but rarely amidst the laborious works of man. Little Japanese children, with mother or nurse—their dress showing plainly that some admired British fashion has been in the dressmaker's eye—may be seen shyly, yet frankly, exchanging civilities with some well cared for English child. And this is as it ought to be; for 'God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth.'
It seems as if we English people, somehow, always thought that imitations of our ways and doings must, of course, show intelligence and progress. This ought to be true, for we profess to be a Christian nation; and if the desire to be like Christ—after whom we are named—guides us in our manners and customs, then, assuredly, following in our steps would be the truest progress of all. But, alas! many of our habits should be shunned rather than imitated. What are the Japanese to think of young Englishmen who cheat in business; who
force the ignorant to buy what will do harm and not good? And what will they they think of English drunkards and thieves, who yet bear the Christian name? 'Is that what your religion teaches you?' they ask, and well they may; 'if it is, we don't want to hear about it.' They little know; it is the want of the religion of Christ—not the possession of it—that leads to the formation of such habits.
I feel quite sure that from the many thousands who read the 'Dayspring,' some boys will by-and-by go out to Japan, to be merchants, engineers, land surveyors,
railway contractors, or the like. Let us hope that they will, with God's help, resolve to be honourable, upright, and true; so that they may be a blessing, and not a curse, to the land of their adoption.
Long centuries have passed since wise men came with gifts to the Infant King, saying, 'We in the east have seen His star, and are come to worship Him:' let us, on whom the great Light has arisen, send its rays, pure and unsullied, across the ocean, to those distant isles, so that Japan may be spiritually, as well as physically, 'the land of the Rising Sun.' z.
denied that he had «ver been entrusted with it.
The young man, unwilling to be thus robbed of his wealth, brought his case before the Kazee, or judge. The old man confidently appeared, believing it quito impossible for any one to prove him guilty of the theft. But he was sadly mistaken. The Kazee was too wise a man for him. He asked the young man—' Where were you, young man, when you delivered this money?'
'Under a tree,' the young man replied.
'Take my seal and summon that tree,' said the judge. 'Go, young man, and tell the tree to come hither, and the tree will obey when you shew it my seal.'
The young man went away, wondering much why he had been sent on such a strange errand. After he had been gone some time, the Kazee said to the old man, 'He is long; do you think he has got there yet?'
'No,' said the old man; 'it is at some distance; he has not got there yet.'
'How knowest thou,' cried the judge, 'where that tree is?'
The young man returned, and said that the tree would not come; but the Kazee replied,—
'It has been here already, and has given evidence. Young man, the money is thine.'
Little did that old man imagine that the very tree under which he had stood would become a witness against him, and that out of his own mouth he would be condemned. If a heathen judge could thus discover this old man's lying tongue, how vain is it for any one to attempt to deceive God.
When Gehazi, by his lying story, got two talents of silver, he thought he had enriched himself; but the leprosy taught him the worthlessness of treasure got by a lying tongue. When Ananias and Sapphira thought to keep their treasures by falsehood, they brought death on themselves. Far better be a poor man than a liar.
'I will not!' said a little boy stoutly.
* What won't y ou do?' asked a passer-by.
'That boy wants me to make believe something to my mother; and I won't,' he answered.
That was a boy one could trust. He would not deceive his mother nor any one else. A boy who manfully says 'No, I won't, to every one who would tempt him to deceive, is the boy to be trusted. He may never be rieh in this world, but he will have the blessing of the Lord. Lying lips are abomination to the Lord; but they that deal truly are His delight.
'0! 'tis a lovely thing for youth
To walk betimes in wisdom's way,
A JEWISH SCHOOL.
I HAVE been looking at this picture of a Jewish school, until I almost imagine that I hear the sound of the voices rapidly repeating the appointed tasks, or expect to see the dark, wistful eyes raised to search the old Rabbi's face. Will the scholars in time become like the teacher, old and sad, because of disappointed hope? or, will the roll of the Law which you see in the recess become for them living with new beauty, when they learn to see in all ite types the foreshadowing of Him who came unto His own nineteen hundred years ago, and was rejected by them? Will they receive Him as the hope of Israel?
It may be some of these scholars have passed their days with the light of a pleasant home shining around them; for the love of a Jewish father and mother to their children is very tender,—and the love of Jewish children to their parents is strong and reverential. On Sabbath afternoon their mothers will gather them with their sisters, and tell them histories of the nation— of Moses and David, and the Maccabees; glorious histories of the triumphs of their people; and then sadder tales, as they speak of later times, of the sufferings of their people in all lands whither they have been scattered. And thus, in the hearts of the children, there will be planted imperishable seeds of love for their nation; and the long hard tasks which they have to learn from the Land and the Talmud, will no longer seem so dry and wearisome.