Obrázky na stránke

saying, “ Arise, let us go up to Zion to the house of the Lord our God.” The players on musical instruments went before ; an ox with gilded horns decorated with olives, and the bearers of the baskets of first-fruits followed. When they came nigh to Jerusalem, they uncovered the baskets and exposed the fruits to view, so that their quality might be admired. The high-officers, and treasurers of the temple went out to meet the bearers of the firstfruits. Many of the people of Jerusalem also went to meet them. and they were received with greetings in this manner, “O our brethren, inhabitants of the city of

ye are welcome !” Every one, even the king himself, carried his basket upon his shoulder to the house of the Lord. The Levites then sang, “ I will extol thee, O Lord, because thou hast exalted me, and hast not made mine enemies to rejoice over me.' The person presenting the first-fruits, while carrying the basket, would begin to say, “ I profess this day to the Lord my God,” &c. Deut. xxvi. 3-5. He then would pause, and put down his basket; and the priest would wave it about, as a waveoffering. Then the words after the fifth to the tenth verses of the last-named chapter were said--and then the offerer would place his basket before the altar, and reverently retire. The persons bringing first-fruits to the temple had to remain in Jerusalem the following night; after which they were allowed to return home.

The law did not prescribe the quantity that was to be presented as first-fruits. We are told by Jewish writers, that a fortieth of the produce belonging to the offerer was considered a liberal amount to present, but that a sixtieth part was regarded as less than should have been given. The law also required that the first-born, both of man and of beasts, should be offered unto the Lord—but the firstborn of man was to be redeemed by presenting a sum not exceeding five shekels to the treasury of the Lord's house. A shekel of silver was equal in value to between two and three shillings of English money.

The presentation of the first-fruits, as formerly required under the law, is a service which is no longer requuired ;


for the Jewish dispensation has been set aside by the appearing of Christ. But we ought not to forget that God still requires us to remember that he is our benefactor, that we derive all temporal as well as all spiritual blessings from him, and that he requires us to give as he prospers us, to support the services of religion, and to feed the hungry, and render aid to those who are in want.

Especially God requires that the first-fruits of our lives, should be devoted to his fear, honour, and glory. We | hope that our readers will remember this, and earnestly

pray to God, that they may have grace now to give their hearts to God. We entreat our young friends to present the first-fruits of their lives to God, by engaging in his service, and making it to be their constant endeavour to know and do the will of God. A poet has justly said, in reference to early piety

“A flower, when offered in the bud,

Is no mean sacrifice."

THE CONVERTED SAILOR BOY. EDWARD BEECHHILL was the only son of a farmer, who lived in the neighbourhood of Dunse, and who was esteemed by those who knew him as a person of strong sense and sound principle, and as being possessed of a warm heart and an open hand. From his cradle, young Beechhill was a wayward boy. Perhaps he was not always properly managed; for his mother, who loved him to excess, would often hide his faults from his father ; who, from an over-anxiety to see his son a reputable member of society, as well as a good Christian, suffered himself at times to be surprised into undue fits of passion with his offending child, and was apt at seasons to punish him with rigour. There was no day that marked the bent of Edward's mind more than the Sabbath,-a day, the duties of which his father observed with scrupulous exactness

. To young Beechhill, the Sabbath was a season

of restless uneasiness ; for from early morn till night he was obliged to be engaged in exercises in which his heart had no share. Often did he wish that the Sabbath was over; and often did he wonder who could have invented such a dull, hateful thing as a catechism. Permit me here to remark, that it was not the custom then for parents and teachers to speak to the understanding of children, by taking pains to render the truth intelligible to their weak capacities; but to ply their memory with dry doctrinal statements, which only served, in the most of cases, to burden their minds, without improving their judgments, or exciting in their hearts one degree of interest.

When young Beechhill was about fourteen years of age he had a strong desire to see a fair. He had frequently listened with rapturous delight to a neighbouring farmer's son's account of various and heart-stirring exhibitions to be seen there ; so he resolved to have his wishes gratified, come what might. It chanced that one was to be held the following week, in a town not far distant; and as he suspected that his father would object to the scheme, he determined to say nothing on the subject to his parents till his design should be accomplished. Accordingly, the better to effect his purpose, he secreted the key of the house-door on the night preceding the fair; and with the first streak of morning, when all, as he supposed, were fast asleep, he stole from his chamber, and ventnred to turn the lock. It creaked, and he stopped, for his heart beat thick, and his hand shook with terror; but the next moment he summoned resolution, and succeeded in undoing the lock,—though not till he had awakened his father, who, believing the house to have been broken into by thieves, sprang out of bed, just in time to secure and punish his rebellious son.

From this period young Beechhill meditated a final escape from his father's house ; but he kept the secret to himself, till, having accompanied his mother to Leith, for seabathing, he one morning disappeared, leaving the following note on the parlour table

“My dear mother,—When you receive this I shall be at sea. I have long had a desire to visit strange places, and to become acquainted with new things; and I thought if I proposed going abroad, my father would not consent to my wishes. Do not put yourself about on my account. Though I begin my voyage as a common sailor, I am led to expect promotion very soon. At all events I have taken the step, and it cannot now be retraced. Your affectionate son,

E. B.” It were useless to attempt to describe the feelings of the mother on this trying occasion. She was absolutely stupified with grief, the excess of which threw her into a lingering disorder, which soon terminated her existence, As for the bereaved and disconsolate father, his sorrow. which was at first violent, sunk down at length into a settled melancholy, which ate out the soul of life's best enjoyments, and rendered duty and even life itself burdensome. Could children understand the feelings which crowd into a parent's heart at the thought of their errors, they would be more inclined than they often are to sacrifice their will for the comfort of their father and mother. What is pleasure bought with the tears and the groans of those whom God and nature have commanded us to obey and honour ? Even faults ought to be silently borne with from parents, and the humours and caprices of the old pitied and tolerated by the young and inexperi

for they know not, nor can understand, the anxiety which has caused them.

Farmer Beechhill having at length learned the name of the vessel in which his son had sailed, wrote to Edward, but received no answer.

In the meantime years rolled on, but brought no tidings of the runaway; till, one evening, in the depth of winter, as the icicles hung from the windows, and the drift fell so thick that one could scarcely see a yard before him, a loud knocking came to the door. Not one of the servants heard it; for though the storm raged without, they felt not its fury, and so were all busy as the bee, and cheerful as the lark. The knocking continued, and at length reached the ear of farmer Beechhill,

enced ;

[ocr errors]

who sat alone in his little parlour, with his Bible open before him, and his dog reposing at his feet. “ This is not a night for a human creature to be exposed,” muttered the farmer, as he hastily snatched up a candle, and directed his steps towards the door. It proved to be a shipwrecked sailor, hungry and half naked, and shivering with cold. He told his tale in an artless and touching manner, and begged a morsel of food, and lodging for the night. “Have the poor fellow in,” said the farmer to some of the servants who were now in attendance. “ Take him to the fire, and let him be warmed and fed.” “Perhaps,” he added,--and the big tears fell as he spake,~"he, too, has a father.”

As Jack sat and smoked his pipe by the blazing fire, round which the servants were ranged, each engaged with some useful piece of employment, he soon forgot both his past sufferings and his present weariness, and joined the loudest in the song, and the merriest in the laugh. He recounted to his wondering audience the perils he had undergone, the feats he had achieved, and the losses he had sustained. He talked, too, of the different countries he had visited, the various customs he had seen, and the jolly tars with whom he had met and parted. “But among them all,” he added, “none of them ever left such a blank in the heart of Jack Trivers at parting as Ned Beechhill did. Poor Ned! he was as brave a heart as ever set foot on a ship's deck, or whistled on the top of a mast to the howl of the tempest. But he's moored now. Peace be with his shattered hulk ! "Ned Beechhill, did you say, young man ?" asked a silver-haired domestic, in the form of an old shepherd, who till this moment had 1 listened with deep interest to the stories of the sailor, without seeming to enjoy either the merriment or the music. Had you a comrade of the name of Beechhill ?” “That I had," replied Jack. “He was a native of Scotland, like myself; and out of pure love for our country we soon became cronies. He died on a reef of rocks on which our gallant vessel foundered, and on which those of our ship's company were cast who escaped the


« PredošláPokračovať »