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but always wherever it appeared there followed trouble. Nothing seemed able to prevent its steady increase: the more persecution was raised, the more diligently did the people lay its words of encouragement to heart.
The Spaniards wound portions of Scripture round their bodies, only to be delivered up with their lives. The Huguenots sacrificed life and liberty, kindred and country, sooner than let their heavenly treasure be touched. The Waldenses learned by heart whole books of the Bible, beginning as little children, and forming large societies, each member of which was trusted to remember and repeat his own certain number of chapters. Some could repeat the whole of the New Testament; others stored their minds with the prophecies of Isaiah, or the Psalms of David; but all seemed to recognise that the Bible contained the one Pearl of Great Price, which must be got and kept at all hazards, and without which the world to them was nought. About the year 1378 arose a poor priest of Oxford, a studious, thoughtful man, who, in spite of opposition, persecution, and distress, succeeded in giving to the English nation an entire translation of the Bible in its purity, without note or comment. Several copies were made, and many people wrote out small portions into little books, which they carried next to their persons for safety.
Fast spread the new doctrines which were daily bringing human fuel to the avenging fires; but Wycliffe himself, contrary to all his expectations, was not destined to be a martyr. He died in the act of administering the Lord's Supper.
Seventy years after the death of Wycliffe the wonderful art of printing was invented, and it is believed that the first book ever printed (in 1450) was a Bible—the Magarin Bible—in two very large volumes, of which there -were only 18 copies—4 on vellum, and 14 on paper; and not until Faust, the goldsmith, was suspected of magic arts, did he reveal the secret confided to him by the real inventor of printing—Johann Gutenburg. This first printed edition of
a Bible was in Latin. In 1488, the Old Testament appeared in Hebrew, its original language; and later still, the New Testament was printed in Greek by the learned Erasmus of Rotterdam. In the beginning of the 16th century we see Luther in Germany, Tyndale in England, Lefevre in France, and Zwingle in Switzerland, each working by himself at the same task— viz., translating the Book into his own language. Then followed persecutions more bitter than ever, as the priests saw people gradually slipping off the iron chains of superstition and ignorance with which they had been bound. Before Tyndale had half finished his translation, he was obliged to fly the country, anxious only to save his life that he might be able to complete God's work. From abroad, he sent it back to his countrymen, though aware that all seaports were closely watched and guarded against the entrance of that 'pernicious' book. He trusted that, like its Master, it would pass unharmed through a multitude of enemies; and he was right. A few years later he himself was called, and delivered up his last breath at the stake in a prayer that the king of England's eyes might be opened. Time went on, and England blazed with the fire and tortures in which martyrs and their books were destroyed, until at last Elizabeth came to the throne, and the Bible was allowed free circulation among all who chose to read it.
And now, what has it done? What is it doing? Mighty as ever to endure all human storms, it has gone, and is still going, abroad over the face of the whole earth, shedding out upon the world the pure light of heaven, driving before it darkness, corruption, and sin, conquering enmity, and overthrowing opposition.
It is bringing peace to the weary and sight to the blind, releasing the prisonus, and making the exiles' heart to leap for joy. It is flowing on in a mighty stream, ever widening and deepening, and becoming more powerful, until the current shall have swept in all the nations of the world, and 'the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea.' j. 0. M. k.
ONLY A PIN.
or three days ago, an in one of the mills found a pin which eo^t the company about fifty pounds.'
'Was it stolin?' asked Susie. '1 suppose it must lave been very handsome. Was it a diamond pin?'
'Oh, no, my dear! not by any means. It was just such a pin as people buy every day, ami use without stint. Here is one upon my dress.'
'Such a pin as lliat cost fifty pounds!' exclaimed John. 'I don't believe it.'
'But mamma says it's a true story,' interposed Susie.
'Yes, I know it to be true. And this is the way the pin happened to cost so much: You know that calicoes, after they are printed and washed, are dried and smoothed by being passed over heated rollers. Well, by some mischance, a pin dropped so as to lie upon the principal roller, and, indeed, became wedged into it, the head standing out a little way from the surface.
'Over and over went the roller, and round and round went the cloth, winding at length upon still another roller, until the piece was measured off. Then another piece began to be dried and wound; and so on, until a hundred pieces had been counted off. These were not examined immediately, but removed from the machinery and laid aside.
'When, at length, they came to be inspected, it was found that there were holes in every piece throughout the web, and only three-quarters of a yard apart.
'Of course the goods could not be Classed as perfect goods, so they were sold as remnants at less than half the pric,e they would have brought had it not been for the hidden pin.
'Now, it seems to me that, when a boy takes for his companion a profane swearer, a Sabbath-breaker, or a lad who is untruthful, and a little girl has for her playmate one who is unkind, or disobedient, or in any way a wicked child, they are like the roller which took to its bosom the pin. Without their being able to help it, often the evil
THERE is a little flower,
It has a little golden eye,
With silver lining round; It grows upon the roadside,
On every grassy mound.
The children lgve it dearly,
And chains of it they make, As they wander in the meadows
By the river or the lake.
Now, this sweet little flower
Can teach a lesson sure, That tho' life's road be rough and drear,
We can shew our blossom pure.
He was born of a noble family at Ferrara, on the 21st of September, 1452, and was educated with great care; for very early his genius showed itself, and his father cherished nigh hopes that he would distinguish himself in his country, and some day be one of the great powers which would lead and rule his countrymen. And so he was yet to be, but not as his father dreamed.
From his youth, Jerome Savonarola was averse to the gaieties of court; its wickedness haunted him. He could not hear the light music, nor see the splendour of its feasts, for the thoughts of all that was beneath—the falseness and the misery. And so he shrank into retirement, and spent the days and months at home in his father's house, soothing his thoughts as best he could with poetry and music. But hia music was very sad, and his poetry as stern as his thoughts.
One of his poems was entitled 'The Ruin of the Church'; another, 'The Ruin of the World.' For in all the wickedness round him, he saw but the prophecy of ruin, and it burned into his heart and must find voice for itself.
One April day he sat with his mother. His lute was in his hand; he was playing a mournful melody. So sad, so expressive it was, that it touched his mother like a prophecy—touched her with a strange, keen pain, and she turned her face to her son.
'My son,' she exclaimed with all her sorrow in her voice,' the music is a sign— we must part soon.
Jerome Savonarola was then twenty-two years old. On the very next day he secretly left his home, and never returned to it again. He began his life as a monk in the Dominican convent at Bologna. But some years passed before his fame came. The first time he was sent to preach at Florence, he was received with coldness and neglect. The people would not listen to him; his voice was unmusical; he said nothing which interested them, and so they left him alone.
Could he do no good in the world so full of evil? Was all his life to be a failure? Very sad and depressed, Savonarola left Florence.
Seven years later—-it was in 1489—he was' in the same city, preaching in the convent garden of San Marco, with breathless crowds listening. People were crowded together even on the garden walls, eager to catch every word which fell from the lips of the preacher. Such enthusiasm in Florence had never been seen before. Michael Angelo himself was a disciple of Savonarola. Fra Bartolomeo, another great painter, burned in the public market the pictures which the monk disapproved. It seemed as if the whole city was melted by his earnest eloquence. The listener who reports his sermons often breaks off his sentence, and writes:
'Here I was so overcome with weeping, that I could not go on.'
Another says, 'These sermons caused such terror, alarm, sobbing and tears, that every one passed through the streets without speaking, more dead than alive.'
And still Savonarola, from under his hood, with his deep sunken eyes and piercing voice, proclaimed the judgments of God, and his near vengeance on the sins of fated Florence; and not on Florence alone, but on Rome and Italy, and the whole world lying in wickedness.
He did not scruple with his burning words to reprove the Pope himself, to accuse him of wickedness, and warn him to turn from his evil ways. Such language was new indeed, to be heard in the court at Rome, but the Pope could not offer openly to show his displeasure. Savonarola was tie idol of the people; the Pope would fain seem to be his friend. He dissembled his displeasure, and offered to make him a cardinal. But Savonarola rejected the offer.
'Rather would I have,' he answered, 'the red crown of martyrdom.'
And that martyrdom surely awaited him. Troubles gathered round him fast. The people began to doubt their prophet; and with all the fickleness of a crowd, turned from him in his hour of need".
'O Lord, if it be Thy will that I should go through deep waters, Thy will be done,' he prayed.