Imágenes de páginas
PDF
[ocr errors][merged small]

and taken into the Christian church. We read that the faithful swine-herd, who had kept his king concealed in the marshy island by the Tone, rose afterwards to the bishopric of Winchester; but we must bear in mind that the level of education of Anglo-Saxon clergy was not difficult to attain.

Fifteen years of peace followed the subjection of the Danes, during which the king turned his attention to the elevation of his people and his country.

He built schools, inviting learned men to come and settle at his court; and in his scanty leisure he himself translated into Anglo-Saxon, for his people, the psalms and works of philosophy and history. He had not learned Latin till he was forty, but he was an eager student, and in his division of workfor the day, he only allowed himself eight hours for sleep, meals, and exercise, so that when public business was over, we can imagine him busy with his pen far into the night while his' time candles' burn down ring after ring. He enlarged the fleet, improving his ships so that they soon excelled in fleetness the Northmen's flat bottomed boats; he built strong castles and protected the cities by walls; divided the land into shires; prepared a code of laws; and showed to his people the example of a good and useful life.

Towards the end of his reign, the Danes, led by Hastings the prince of pirates, again devastated the land; but the Saxons, with their stone-fenced cities and swift fleets were able now to make a brave resistance, and after four years, Alfred gained a final victory beside the river Lea, and saw at last the Danish ships set sail for other seas. Then a few more years of peace, and Great Alfred's work for England was ended. To the last he laboured for the land he loved so well, though his feeble frame was wasted by a malady for twenty years of his busy life. He died in 901.

After ' doing with his might whatsoever his hands found to do,' he joined the ranks of that great army, who 'may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them. „ „..

THE BEAUTIFUL.

BEAUTIFUL upon the mountains
Are the feet of those who bear
Tidings of the ' Open fountain'
To the weary wanderer.

Beautiful in lowly valley,

Darkened long by error's night,

Is the star-gleam of salvation—
Star of everlasting light.

Beautiful within the desert—
Weary waste of herbless sand—

Is the freshness of the river
Guided to the thirsty land.

Beautiful the Gospel radiance
In the land of heathen gloom,

Pouring light amid the darkness,
Stirring life within the tomb.

Sun-gleam on the distant summit
After day of sullen cloud;

Springtide bursting bonds of winter,

, Life-bloom springing from the shroud,

Is the free, the Gospel message,
Free to every clime and hue,—

Tidings of a blood-bought pardon
To the Gentile and the Jew.

SERGENT, THE BRAVE BULL-DOG.

(From the French.)

FAR away in the midst of Bohemia, at the foot of a hill, stood'a large house or castle. On the one side was a wood; on the other, a fine large garden, with a deep pond at the foot of it. In this dwelling lived a count and his two little boys. The countess had died shortly before, greatly lamented not only by her own family, but by many poor people, to whom she had been very kind.

The children were very fond of an English bull-dog called Sergent, which belonged to their father. It was white, of a medium height, but very strong, with bright, intelligent eyes. When Sergent got out to walk with his masters, he was so happy that he would bound away to a great distance, and return all panting to be off again in a few minutes. The only time when Sergent gave trouble, was when he

[merged small][ocr errors]

saw geese or hens; he would fly at them, and sometimes almost worry them. Though he had been punished again and again for doing so, still he was not cured of the bad habit . At all other times Sergent was an obedient, docile animal, and a great favourite with his masters. The dog appeared to reckon himself bound not only to love his masters, and to be their companion, but also to watch over whatever belonged to them.

A peasant in the neighbourhood had a son called Hanzl, well known for his quarrelsomeness, his laziness, and his greediness. This boy was at open war with Sergent, because that several times the faithful dog had caught him in the very act of filling his pockets with stolen fruits, and had left the marks of his teeth upon him,

One day a grand entertainment was given at the castle to the young counts, and a number of children of their own age. The merry company were dispersed in the garden; and many baskets of fruits, of honeycomb, and niceties of every kind had been seen carried into the pantry. Hanzl had heard of the feast, and wished much to have a share of it. Waiting till sunset, he wandered about the building; then, watching a time when no one was in the pantry, he approached the object of his covetousness.

The cook was busy with preparations for tea; the other servants were arranging the porcelain and crystal needed; and the doors had been left open because of the heat. Hanzl, believing that no one would know, seized as much as he could carry. But Sergent had quick hearing; he ran in, barked loudly, and. seizing the boy by his jacket, held him firmly in spite of all his- efforts to get away. The servants, coming to see what was the matter, found Hanzl, with his mouth and hands full, vainly trying to escape from the dog.

'Ah! it is you, you good-for-nothing fellow,' said the servant-man, seizing him by the hair; 'I am not surprised; if any one would steal, it is you.'

Then taking him by the arm, he bade

the gardener to go with him to his father's house, and tell him all. We can imagine how angry his father would be when he heard such an account of the conduct of his son.

As for Sergent, he was caressed and rewarded, as he had so well deserved, and was very happy to see every one so pleased with him, Poor dog, he little thought of the danger he was in, from the hatred of the wicked boy whose bad conduct he had exposed.

Some days after, Sergent had a long walk with his young masters; and being wearied after his return, laid himself down to sleep on the cool grass beside the lake. The two young gentlemen had gone into the house to change their clothes. Suddenly Hanzl, who had been watching for an opportunity to revenge himself on the poor dog, stealthily approached the dog, slipped round his neck a cord, with a stone tied to it; and seizing it violently, rolled and pushed it into the pond. Sergent awakened with a start, gave a loud howl, and disappeared in the water; but struggling vigorously he appeared again at the surface, barked loudly, and once more sank. The two young counts, who had heard the dog's cry of anguish, ran to the window, and could not understand how a dog which could swim so well should be at the point of drowning. They ran to his help as fast as they could; but the distance made it a considerable time before they reached him. During this time Sergent had succeeded in detachmg the stone which pulled him down, and was coming out of the water. Then Hanzl, furious to see his victim escape him, seized a large stick which lay near, and was going to strike the dog.

'O, the wretch!' cried one of the count's little boys, who just then arrived; 'he will kill Sergent.'

But in a moment the scene changed. The grass at the edge of the pond was wet and slippery with the dog's having just come out of the water; Hanzl stepped upon it, his foot slipped, the stick fell out of his hand, he lost his balance, and fell into the pond at the very place into which, a few minutes before, he had driven the poor dog.

[ocr errors][merged small]

What did Sergent do then? At the sight of the boy struggling and calling for help, without waiting a moment, he returned to the water, plunged in, seized him by his clothes, and brought him out half suffocated. The two children came running to Sergent when he had done this heroic act, and put their arms round him. Then the youngest of them said:

'Truly you are better than me, my good Sergent. If 1 had been in your place, I do not know but that I might have left this bad boy to keep company with the fishes and the frogs.'

Hanzl soon began to recover his senses, but he did not turn from his bad ways. It is very sad when young people will not profit by correction, and only harden their

hearts. Hanzl was taken to his father in a pitiful plight. When he heard of his conduct, his father determined to place him under a small farmer whom he knew, where he would be obliged to work very hard; and would not allow him to come home till he had learned to behave in such a way as not to be a disgrace to his father's house.

Every one who knew Sergent was so much pleased with him for what he had done, that his conduct was often mentioned as a model to children who quarrelled, and wished to render evil for evil. 'You would not like to have it said that Sergent behaved better than you,' was often repeated to them.

'Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.' a. T. &

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]
[merged small][ocr errors][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small]

Linth, the river which Zwingle knew—th« river which comes from the snow-region, and seeks the far-off sea. Through th» stripes of green, are clambering the sheep and the mountain goats. Zwingle knew it all. It is some hundred years since he lived here, a young and faithful pastor, but a priest of the church of Rome.

Zwingle became the pastor of Glaris, in the year 1506, the same year in which Luther became an Augustinian Monk. He had come from his mountain home at Wildhaus, one of eight sons, a fervent nature, full of sincerity and warmth. Earnest in study as he was in work, he devoted all his heart to the Bible. He copied out and committed to memory all the epistles of St. Paul. These were to be his faithful weapons in many a year to come, when it was not the simple mountain people, but the princes and learned men of Europe, before whom he must defend his faith.

After some years spent in Glaris, he was appointed to be one of the chaplains to the army then in Lombardy, fighting the battles of the Pope. And later, in the year 1516, j he was invited to Einsiedeln, to be preacher in the convent there. The convent of Einsiedeln was famous through all the church of Rome. It contained a black image of the Virgin Mary, which was held peculiarly sacred by the superstitious people of the time. To worship it, thousands of devotees came from all parts of Europe every year. They came in the warm, ripe days of September, when the harvest gold was on the valleys. And so, when Ulrich Zwingle was called to preach in the convent, his words were heard and scattered far through the homes of many people. They were bold words, which never before had been heard from such a pulpit.

For Zwingle, in his mountain parish, had learned the truth of God. God had been near him many a time in those lonely places, with the snows above and the mountain flowers at his feet. And slowly and gladly he had learned the truth in deeper purity and peace. He had learned to hate and

fear the falsehoods which the priests were teaching to the people. He had learned how Christ Himself comes close to the trembling soul, without priest or altar between, or Virgin, or angel, or saint. He had learned how the Romish Priests had abused the trust which was given them, had deceived the ignorant people, and made them not the better, but the worse<

So, here in Switzerland, he began the Reformation which Luther was beginning in Germany. Yet Luther and Zwingle were not friends. They had many bitter disputes, hard to understand now. For ihey were both good men, and loved the truth, and had the same pure faith. But there were some matters which they judged differently. And each thought himself right, and thought hard thoughts of the other.

That was sad enough; but each did a good work, and each was fervently beloved by those who were nearest to him. They met at Marburg in Hesse-Cassel, in the year 1529. The friends of both hoped their disputes would end, if they met face to face, and frankly together discussed their different opinions. But after three days conference they were no nearer oneness, and parted as they had met.

A few years later, war broke out between Protestant Zurich and the Catholic Cantons of Switzerland. The Soldiers of the Reformed Church rallied round their beloved Zwingle, whose character and position made him their leader and their friend. It was, besides, an old custom that the banner of Zurich should always be borne by a priest. So, bearing the ancient standard, but a protestant standard now, Zwingle went out to meet the foe. He had said his last good-bye to his wife and his little children. It was in the autumn time, with again the purple and the gold flushing the mountain home.

On the eleventh of October, the armies met at Cappel. The Catholics were twice the number of Protestants. . No faith nor bravery of the little army availed.

Zwingle was among the first who felL He was found after the battle, lying with

« AnteriorContinuar »