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of the Old Testament:—Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, and, in part, Numbers too; further, the 150 Psalms, the Song of Solomon, Kuth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, and all the Haptharah (prophets). Most of them I did not forget, and still can recite them literally by heart, . . . according to the Rabbinical sentences, which runs thus: "That which a little child has learned with diligence and attention in early youth, remains on the tablet of his heart till old age." On bright nights I got up at two o'clock, after midnight, in order to read the Psalms in the moonlight two hours, as my father did in his youth. I gave away all my pocket money to the poor. I read over, every week, the whole psaltery, and finished it with each Friday.' Which of the readers of 'The Dayspring' can say that they have studied God's word as ardently as this Jewish boy? How many of us learn even one text each day? How much we might learn in the course of a year, if we committed to memory one verse on each of the days from Monday to Saturday, and then repeated on Sabbath what we had learned during the week, not as a hard task, but as the pleasantest part of the day's work—like getting hold of a sunbeam to carry about with us always.
THE PRICELESS DIAMOND.
AN Italian Poet, Jacob Bendetti, tells the following tale:— A beautiful maiden was left by her father apricelegg diamond. She had five brothers. The first was a Musician; the second a Painter; The third a Spice Merchant; the fourth a Cook; and the fifth a Builder. Each of them coveted the maiden's diamond. The first came and said, Sister, if you will give me the diamond, I will charm you with delightful music. But she said, The charm of song will not last and my diamond would be gone. The second said, Sister, I will paint you, for it, a beautiful picture. But she said, The picture may be stolen or may lose its colouring and I would lose my diamond. The third said, I will stock you
a garden with the sweetest flowers of the east if you give me your diamond. But she said, The most delicious perfumes pall, and fail after a while to please, and my diamond would be gone. The fourth said, I will give you a banquet that kings might envy. But she said, After the banquet I might again be hungry, and the diamond would be gone. And the fifth came and said, Dear sister, I will build you a grand palace, if you will give me your diamond. But she said, I have heard that a palace is filled with cares and I do not wish such companions. At last there came to her the son of a great king and he said, Lady, I wish you to give me your diamond. But she said, What will you give me? I will give you myself, said he, and all that is mine. And she said, The diamond is yours, I freely accept the offer.
Now, the diamond is the soul; the five brothers the five senses; and the king's son is Jesus.
TTATTR ME GOD'S CHILD.
O CONQUEROR of death,
O, guide me as I go
Safely on through all!
Through rise and fall,
O, tend me till I die,
And to earth return!
And wait the morn;
TO name Dr Isaac Watts, is to name an old friend whom nearly every little child has known from almost babyhood. For if you have not known his name, you have surely said many a time the simple hymns which he wrote. Once, indeed, these hymns were in more use than now. Yet they are so easy to understand, so charming in their simplicity, so good for every day, they can never be wholly forgotten, or laid by for sweeter strains.
Dr. Watts was born at Southampton, July 17th, 1674. His father and mother were truly good. And the little boy learned from his infancy all those wise and gentle lessons which he afterwards taught so well. He became Independent minister of Stoke-Newington, near London, when he was twenty-four years old; but his health was delicate, and could not bear,
through a long life, all the work he laid upon himself. Fourteen years later he was too worn out to undertake any further the busy duties of his ministry. And then began those long years of happy and quiet leisure, with the fruits of which Dr. Isaac Watts has blessed so many lives.
Not far from Stoke-Newington there stood a beautiful mansion. It was surrounded by its own pleasure grounds— quiet bowers and shady lawns. Abney Park it was called, and its owner was Sir Thomas Abney—one who had become a friend of Dr. Watts in his busy, devoted work. Acquaintance had grown into friendship very peculiar and dear; and, in his frail health, Dr. Watts was invited by Sir Thomas to make his home at the beautiful house of Abney.
Here Dr. Watts lived for thirty-six years. His health revived in the stillness and beauty, and his friends were full of love.
DE. ISAAC WATTS.
'Here he dwelt in a family which for piety, order, harmony, and every virtue, was a house of God.' Here he wrote some learned works, and those simple household hymns which have made his memory so familiar and dear. For whatever he saw of beauty he gathered up in his heart, and kept for the little children in the little children's hymns.
Pie saw the bee in the lime tree blossoms, and noted, with a quiet eye, the busy laden velvet thing humming, restless and musical, among the branches all day long. And he wrote:—
'How doth the little busy bee
And gather honey all the day
How skillfully she builds her cell,
And labours hard to store it well
And then he draws the wise lesson of how we, too, should be busy, never having idle hands, but filling our lives with good work—work which shall bless others, as the honey gathered by the busy bee is stored for others use—how every day must be filled with its sweet, small, earnest duties, if we would be bright and joyful like the bee among the summer branches.
Dr. Watts strolled forth from pleasant Abney Park towards the little old town, and met the poor, pinched faces that were worn with want and care. Helping them all he could, yet how little that help was; there were still those who must always hunger and toil. And he thought of his own rich mercies, and the mercies of those most dear, and wrote thus:—
'Whene'er I take my walks abroad,
How many poor I see;
For all His gifts to me?
Not more than others I deserve,
For I have food, while others starve
Yet you may be sure his gratitude did not rest in this; for it is poor gratitude which is merely glad for what we have ourselves more than others. You must never forget that gratitude means care for all living things—first and most for the poor whom God has left among us. Yet after this for every living thing—every thing that has life in it, and can suffer and enjoy.
'He prayeth well who loveth well
He prayeth best who loveth best
For the dear God who loveth us,
It was not Watts, but Coleridge, who wrote these beautiful lines—lines so true and good, they are worth remembering always. They were written long, long after Watts had passed away; he, too, would have loved them, as all good men must.
Here is one hymn of Watts' which you shall read at full length; its full length is short—four little verses only.
'How fair is the rose, what a beautiful flower,
The glory of April and May, Yet its leaves are beginning to fade in an hour,
And they wither and die in a day.
Yet the rose has one powerful virtue to boast
Above all the flowers of the field; When its leaves are all dead, and its fine colours lost,
Still how sweet a perfume it will yield.
So frail is the youth and the beauty of men, Though they bloom and look gay like the rose;
But all our fond care to preserve them is vain; Time kills them as fast as he goes.
Then I'll not be proud of my youth nor my beauty,
Since both of them wither and fade; But gain a good name by well doing my duty,
Which will scent like a rose when I'm dead.'
And truly did Dr. Isaac Watts himself gain this good name. His useful and blameless life closed at seventy-five years, on the 25th of November, 1748. H. w. H. W.
'THE DAYSPEIKG' PICTXTRE GALLEBY.
VI.— THE TKEASUKE-CHAMBEK.
ALONGSIDE of the picture of the King's banqueting-hall, we find one of His treasure-chamber, so glorious that I feel quite unable to describe it. Here are stores of glittering gold and silver; piles of flashing diamonds; radiant topazes and rubies; cool, liquid emeralds and sapphires; branching coral; pale pearls and gleaming opals; and a thousand other curious and precious things devised by God's mind, and fashioned by His fingers. They are brought together in this picture as the most precious things in God's treasury of nature, that they may represent to us the far greater riches stored up in His word. For look at the texts round the frame: 'The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.' 'I rejoiced at Thy word as one that findeth great spoil.' 'More to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold.' If you turn to the 28th chapter of Job, you will find all sorts of treasures and gems used to describe the ralue of wisdom; and you know Paul tells us that wisdom 'unto salvation' is stored in the Scriptures.
Let me tell you one or two of the remarkable things about this treasurechamber. First, it is open to everybody at all times, and that cannot be said of the treasury of any sovereign on earth. Of course not; for they are afraid people would carry off their jewels. Perhaps some of you have visited the Tower of London. When there, you got a special order for the jewel-chamber; and, with a number of other people, you were marched up to it under the charge of a 'beef-eater,' and allowed, for a few minutes, to look at the old English crown jewels, arranged in thick glass cases, and fenced by double iron railings. But you could not touch them, still less help yourself to them! Now the next wonderful thing I have to tell you about the treasury in the picture, is that you are invited to carry away as much as you choose from it. The more you take, the better pleased the King will be. It is told of Alexander the Great, that once,
when he wished to reward one of his generals, he told him to go to his treasurer, 'and ask for any sum of money he liked. The man asked so large a sum, that the treasurer, indignant, came to his master, saying there wag not money enough in his coffers. But Alexander was delighted that the man put so much trust in his word and in his resources, and insisted that his demand should be fully satisfied. So you will honour the Great King if you draw largely from His treasury; and, Btrange as it may seem, it is true, that however much you may carry away, the treasury will never be any emptier. For our God's riches are boundless.
I am sure you have sometimes got a present which made you feel rich whenever you looked at it, or even when you just remembered you had it. Have you ever risen up from reading your Bible, feeling the richer for something you had read there? One day a gentleman went to see an old woman who lived alone in a poor garret. She was deaf, and did not hear his knock; so he opened the door. There he saw the old woman sitting down to her dinner, which consisted of nothing but a ciu»t of bread and a cup of water. Over this ihe was lifting her hands in thankfulness, and saying ferventty, 'All this, and Christ too!' Ah! she had been to the King's treasury, and brought away true riches, even the Pearl of great price, and a rare and precious gem called thankfulness.
There are a great many people who have never discovered that there are treasures in the Bible. I have been told that there is a diamond field in South Africa, out of which thousands of pounds worth of diamonds have been dug, which was once sold for a horse! The man, to whom the ground belonged, had never dreamt that there was such wealth hidden away in it, as might have made his fortune over and over. In one of the Bible Society's reports I have read a story, of which this reminds me. A Spanish passenger, in a ship sailing on the South American coast, had a Bible for which he did not care. He offered it to a young man on board, whose native language
was Spanish, and who accepted the gift, and read the book with wonder and delight . He took it with him to his South American home, where it was the means of the conversion of his parents, two sisters, a brother, and a brother-in-law. There were no Protestants near, and they were severelypersecuted by the Roman Catholic priest of the village; but they remained stedfast. Long after, when a missionary visited them for the first time, he found that Bible in the place of honour, prized above every other possession. You see that whole family had found their fortunes in it,—not for time, but for eternity,—though the man who gave it to them had no idea it contained anything of the slightest value.
Dear children, whether you and I prize the Bible or not, let us remember that our forefathers in Scotland «counted not their lives dear unto themselves,' that they might hand down this treasure to us. Many a man—yes, and many a tender woman— parted with all that makes life precious, and at last, with life itself, sooner than give up their right and ours to an open Bible.
But there are people among us who do not know a treasure when they see it. The first diamond found in Africa, in modern times, was, for a long time, the plaything of a farmer's children. Nobody had thought of the little stone's being worth anything; till one day a passer-by noticed it in the children's hands and guessed it might be a gem. I think it was sold at last for about £2000. Are there any of you that only care for the Bible as a means of getting prizes for scripture knowledge, and for correct repetition? You are like these children playing with a diamond.
I have heard a minister tell of his being taken by a friend to visit a sailor's widow in one of the Western Islands. She was very poor indeed, and was kept alive by charity. She began to tell the gentlemen about her husband, who was lost at sea, and produced, from the bottom of her chest, the last letter she had got from him. What do you think they found in it? a cheque for a sum of money that would have made the widow comfortable during all these years. The
poor woman had never known that hep husband had money in the bank, and did not understand that the bit of paper in his letter was of any value. The cashing of that cheque made her a comparatively rich woman at once for the rest of her life, instead of a pauper. I am afraid some of you may be like her, having precious things stored away in your memories for years, which have made your souls none the richer. You learned long ago such a promise as this, 'The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin;' but you have never gone to God with it in prayer, and received from Him that most precious gift, forgiveness. Do not delay. The treasury is open now; and you know that the King delights to sea even the 'little children' coming to receive the blessings which He has stored there for them. ...„