« PredošláPokračovať »
AMERICAN WILD FLOWERS.
abounds in shady locations about the first of May. There is the Claytonia Virginica, too, the spring beauty, as it is aptly termed, which prefers the same locations, and is in flower near the same time. The Trillium Pendulum, or wake robin, blossoms in May. Though not so common as either of the former, it is more gay and splendid, and is more likely to please the casual passer-by. We have found it in Oneida county in considerable abundance. The Aqui legia Canadensis, or wild columbine, a sister of the columbine so generally cultivated in gardens, is by no means an uninteresting flower. It may be found growing in clusters, often hanging on high rocks, where there seems scarcely soil sufficient to sustain it.
Among the vernal flowers which attract most general attention, are the two which embellish this number of the Parlor Magazine→→
THE HEPATICA AND CALTHA.
They are drawn from natural specimens, and engraved expressly for the work. They are designed not merely as embellishments, but as illustrations of the beauty of our native wild flowers.
The blue flower in the engraving is the HEPATICA AMERICANA according to De Candolle; the H. triloba, according to some other botanists. It is one of the first flowers which appear in the Northern and Middle States, and on this account, as well as in consideration of its intrinsic beauty, is a very interesting plant. Its pale blue flowers are often seen before the snows of winter have entirely disappeared. The leaves are not formed until nearly a month later-the leaf which appears in the engraving being the growth of last year. The more common name of the plant is LIVERWORT. Prof. Eaton,
with some reason, as we think, objects to the name, as being the same applied to a plant belonging to another genus-the Marchantia Polymorpha-and suggests that it be called LIVERLEAF.
The Hepatica is also interesting on account of the notoriety it has recently obtained in this country, for its supposed medicinal virtues. We pretend not to determine what consequence ought to be attached to it in medicine. Prof. Tully thinks its excellence is somewhat overrated by some physicians; and the authors of the American Dispensatory affirm that, excepting it is slightly astringent, it has no valuable medicinal properties whatever. "Who shall decide when doctors disagree?"
he CALTHA PALUSTRIS, OF AMERICAN COW
SLIP, accompanies the last mentioned plant in the engraving. It grows naturally in wet, marshy locations, and is on this account quite difficult to cultivate in the garden. Its gay, yellow blossoms form a happy contrast with its deep green leaves and the grass where it grows. Many a sweet bard has honored it in his song, or perhaps we should say, many a song has been honored by it.
There is not, perhaps, in all the year, a more charming month for a ramble in the country among its wild beauties, than this same month of June. Multitudes of flowers are now in bloom, which are interesting and attractive, whether examined with the eye of a scientific botanist, or viewed simply as specimens of the unrivalled handiwork of God.
Improve this season, thou votary of the world, and its alluring pleasures. Go abroad where the wild flowers bloom in their native loveliness, and for awhile at least, forget thy dollars and cents, thy ambition, and thy gay amusements. Go, and let thy heart beat free from the rust of business and care. It will make thee better, happier, to acquaint thyself with these creatures of Infinite Wisdom and Beneficence. Art thou a misanthrope? Hath thy brother man played thee false, and hath a thorn pricked thee from among the roses of life, so thou must needs whine, and find fault with thy species, and everything else, and call this world of ours a bad world, unworthy of thy confidence and love? Learn to see the beauties of the world, and be somewhat blind to its deformities and defects. Peradventure, it is not so bad, after all. Go talk with the birds, and trees, and flowers. Why,
"Methinks it should have been impossible
Not to love all things in a world so filled,
Go make friends of every flower that blows. They will instruct thee-they will teach thee how to love; and if thou canst learn to be a good lover, thou wilt be content to see the world, and let the world see thee. Art thou pent up in some crowded, bustling, dusty Utica of a city? Give thyself a holiday-go away from the rattling of omnibuses, and the cries of radish-venders and chimney-sweeps, and place thyself awhile under the influence of these wildings of nature. O, there are homilies in the wild wood flowers, worth all the wisdom of the schools. Read them, man of the world-they cost thee nothing-and BE SURE THOU READ THEM
BENJAMIN AND THE "MONSTER FATHER."
OUR readers will not have forgotten the astounding incident recorded in the last Number of this Magazine, of the father who sought the country over till he found a school for his son in which there was no religion! He found it away in the heart of Virginia, and there he left his boy.
A correspondent, signing himself "BENJAMIN," and assuming the Quaker style of "thee" and "thy" in his communication, has addressed to us an epistle in which he justifies the conduct of the father so far as the use of the Bible, in the Protestant version commonly called "King James' Bible," is concerned. He says that he has discarded this book from his family on account of its vulgar words and allusions, and because one of his children asked him some queer questions on it, which he thought it would be indelicate to answer. Having stated these grave reasons, he says,
"I would feel really obliged if thee would answer the above objections to King James' Bible, or if thee can tell me where I can get a decent Bible."
It may be questioned whether it is of sufficient importance to treat this call seriously, as we are by no means willing to believe that our correspondent is what he professes to be, a sincere seeker after truth. But the letter gives a fit occasion to speak of the very subject which we should wish to discuss in these pages, and our thanks are therefore due to "Benjamin" for the opportunity he has offered of securing the reader's attention. The question is simply this, "Is the English Bible a suitable reading book for the family and school?"
Benjamin" points us to several passages which he says are indelicate, and to certain words which he would not allow his children to read. These are in the record of historical facts which are in themselves or in their relations of importance, and are expressed in language that was perfectly chaste and proper at the time the translation was made. In the history of the early ages of the world, and in other parts of the sacred volume, it is deemed important by the inspired penmen to commit to writing with great minuteness some things which uninspired men would doubtless have omitted even in history! Is there nothing in this fact that proves the divine origin of the Bible? This very objection would occur to any one who was counterfeiting a sacred book, and we should
have had from such a source a volume that
Benjamin" himself would let his children read! If there is anything in the teaching of the volume, that even by implication can be fairly construed into the approbation of evil, it is a valid argument against its divine origin; but good men have never found anything in the Bible that approves of sin, and bad men hate it because it is opposed universally and decidedly even to the appearance of evil.
But it has vulgar words in it! That depends on what you mean by vulgar words. If words are vulgar that two hundred years ago were used in ordinary conversation among refined people, then the charge is true. But we contend that a book written in a style that was pure and proper in the age that gave it birth, ought not, on that account, to be condemned as unfit to be read at any other age. When the "Paradise Lost" and "Pilgrim's Progress" are as old as King James' Bible is now, the " Benjamins of that day will find some very vulgar words in them, and will find it necessary to discard them from their families for fear their children will ask them queer questions. In fact there are some passages in Milton which a less fastidious taste than our correspondent's, would even now condemn, but what shall be done with them? Shall a new edition be made by some poor poet, that the grand conceptions of the blind bard may be recast into the fashion of this delicate age? Perhaps "Benjamin" would like to try his hand at the new version, and thus bless the world with an improved copy of the matchless poem, which a child may read without putting his morals in peril '
Now, let us see what the effect of reading King James' Bible is upon the morals of youth. Benjamin" does not allow his children to read it, on account of its indecency. His children are therefore doubtless very pure-minded boys and girls they have never been sullied even by the pages of God's Word. But let us look at the families that make the Bible their daily study, where the children are permitted and encouraged, perhaps by promises of reward, to read it in course, and not once only as they read the most of books, but to read it again and again, through and through, history, poetry, prophecy and precept, and what sort of children are they? They read the Bible more than any other book in the world, and King James' Bible too? What
BENJAMIN AND THE "MONSTER FATHER."
is its effect on their morals? Does it make them vulgar and licentious? Did the world ever hear of such a tendency until " Benjamin's” children asked him those queer questions ? Where shall we look for families that are models of purity and delicate tastes and sensibilities, that shrink from moral pollution, and blush at the very thought of shame, where the breath of suspicion never soils the mirror of a stainless heart, and virgin loveliness dwells on every lip and in every eye, where, but in the bosom of those homes that cherish the Bible as their parlor and fireside companion, their morning and evening counsellor, their daily teacher and everlasting guide ? Whence did the Puritans drink but from the wells of living waters opened in the soil of this same vulgar book? And where was a loftier delicacy ever reflected than from the chaste hearts of the sons and daughters of the Pilgrims? O," Benjamin," thou hast not studied well the history of thy own literature, the character of the fathers and mothers of thy own people, or it would never have come into thy mind to think of the Bible as not good enough for thy children. It will not harm them, friend: we hardly think it would harm thee, shouldst thou venture to study it a little more.
And now, turn thee to the families that discard the Bible as friend " Benjamin” has done, and what improvement in morals have they made? Do you often find the licentious novel, the obscene newspaper, the amorous poem, in any other houses than in those where the Bible is not made the daily monitor? Visit the abodes of vice-the gorgeous palaces of gilded sensuality-the glittering gateways of the damnedand do they read the Bible there? Or go to the miserable dens where lust and shame have hid themselves from sight, that in secret they may work all unrighteousness with greediness, and will one of those bloated and beastly monsters tell you in answer to the inquiry what brought you here," I am a victim of Bible reading." Do the annals of vice record one such instance? Did infidelity ever dare to suggest the danger of such a result? Then turn thee to the lanes and the streets, or the wharves and the parks of this or any other city, and catch the first boy whose vulgar words mark him as a fit specimen of the corrupting influence of the Bible, and ask him where he learned to use such foul terms. And thinkest thou, friend “ Benjamin," that he will tell thee, "My mother made me read the Bible, till it spoiled me ?" I see thou smilest, "Benjamin," perhaps thou art somewhat ashamed of
thyself for writing such a letter, Thou doest well to be ashamed.
But, our correspondent, " Benjamin," urges another objection to the use of the Bible; he says that Abraham practised duplicity with Abimelech, and "God sanctioned it." This is new to us. That Abraham sinned in the matter we well know, and the historian, with a pen of impartial truth, has put the stain of his shame upon him never to be washed out till the end of time. But thy pen, friend, was not dipped in truth, when thou wrote that "God sanctioned it." The Bible tells us that David sinned and Peter too, but God never sanctioned their wickedness. Thou slanderest the Almighty when thou sayest that he ever approved of sin. Repent thee of this calumny and ask pardon. And Benjamin" objects to the New Testament, because it tells us that Jesus Christ cursed the fig tree for not bearing figs when the time was not come. Now, verily, we cannot see why the New Testament should be discarded on this account. Every reader of travels in the East knows that there are two seasons of figs in a year, and those who were in the Saviour's company doubtless expected to find fruit upon the tree, while the Lord knew well enough that it was barren, and seized upon the occasion to display his power, and teach his astonished disciples a lesson of awful weight.
These objections which we have mentioned are all that our correspondent urges as the grounds on which he has taken the Bible out of the hands of his children. For these reasons he discards a book every line of which may be read in the midst of the unsullied purity of heaven: a book which angels would love to study, and which saints have studied with emotions of ineffable delight: a book that has been the solace of the afflicted, the guide of the young, the comfort of the aged, the hope of millions now in glory and on the way. This same book that Benjamin" discards, is the volume from which philosophy has drawn its profoundest wisdom, and holiness its highest motives; it has made innocence more pure, beauty more lovely, and bliss more sweet. The poet, the orator, the scholar, find in this volume the finest models, and if there were no heaven and no hell, if this same book were valueless for all it reveals of a world to come, it would still be the noblest and the best of all the volumes that now adorn the world. Any other might be spared with less loss to man. And this book our correspondent has cast out of his family, shut out its history, its eloquence,