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THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS IN THE WORLD,
BY OLD HUMPHREY.
RUPERT MASON was very quick in his feelings, and always spake as he thought. Like most young people, he reflected but little, and therefore, what he said at one time did not always agree with what he said at another.
Rupert's father took him, when they were at a seaport town together, to a large shop where sea shells were sold, and Rupert was quite delighted with his visit. His father pointed out the difference between shells all in one piece, and those which had two or more parts, and told him the names of the different kinds. After spending nearly an hour among the cones, cowries and coats of mail, the bubble, wreath, and limpet shells, gapers, nautiluses, stone piercers and thorny oysters, Rupert declared as he walked away, that he thought sea-shells were the most beautiful things in the world.
Some time after this Rupert went with his father to a flower show. Many a time before this he had looked with pleasure on the glowing colours of the rose, the tulip, and the pansy, the marygold, the peony, and the poppy; but never before had he gazed on so beautiful a collection of flowers. “ Father," said he, “I should hardly ever be tired with looking at them : flowers must be the most beautiful things in the world.”
“ The fairest flowers that deck the sod
Are painted by the hand of God.”.
fond of fine birds and fowl, and Rupert went with him. On this occasion Rupert's attention was more drawn to the fine and rich plumage of birds than it had ever been before, and he seemed bewildered with the fair and glowing feathers of the cock, the drake, the kingfisher, the canary, the swan, the gold and silver pheasants, the peacock, the flamingo, and the bird of paradise. The flamingo and bird of paradise were stuffed and in glass cases, but all the rest were alive. “ Father," said Rupert, “ I cannot tell which I like best, the peacock or the bird of paradise, but certainly birds must be the most beautiful things in the world.”
“ The feathered fowl that cleave the air
The goodness of the Lord declare." As Rupert wandered along the edge of the running brook, his father pointed out to him the green grasshopper, the spotted and ringed ladybird, the glossy purple fly, and the dragon fly in his glowing armour of green and gold. Rupert was delighted, but when his father showed him the glittering back of the diamond beetle through a magnifying glass, he said that was finer than all. “Surely! surely!” said he, “ insects must be the most beautiful things in the world.”
“ At God's command the warblers sing,
And insect worlds rise on the wing.” When Mr. Mason returned home, as he wished to send a basket of fish into the country, he went to the fishmongers, taking his son with him. A fresh supply of fish had just come in. · When Rupert saw the delicate white colour of the turbot, the green, blue, and purple of the mackerel, the glowing yellow of the carp, the sparkling hues of the salmon, together with the dazzling brilliance of the live gold and silver fish in the large glass globes of clear water, he cried out to his father, “ Look! look! never did I see such colours before in my life. Of all things in the world fish are the most beautiful.”
“ The finny tribes, both great and small
Our heavenly Father made them all.” Not far from Mr. Mason's resided a gentleman who had a fine collection of snakes, lizards, and other reptiles, preserved in spirits, and Mr. Mason took Rupert to see it. They entered a large room, which was fitted up with shelves on every side, and on the shelves were ranged transparent glass bottles and jars of all sizes, in which were reptiles of the most glowing and varied colours. Rupert, who had never before seen such a sight, when he gazed on the shining scales, the graceful forms, and the brilliant colours of the snakes, was overcome with surprise and pleasure, and giving way to his quick feelings, exclaimed aloud, “ They really must be the most beautiful things in the world.”
“ No power, but power Divine, could make
The lizard long and slimy snake.” Mr. Mason, who loved to give his son pleasure, especially when he could at the same time improve his mind, took him to see a museum of curiosities. Among the rarities collected together were some specimens of precious stones, which caught Rupert's eye directly. As the light fell full upon them, they fung around them the most intense brilliancy ; the
emerald, the blue sapphire, the violet amethyst, and the yellow topaz, glowed with all but living light, the red ruby flamed like fire, and the clear, bright diamond shot out rays like sunshine. Rupert was delighted, and failed not to burst out with the exclamation, " There is nothing like them! Of all things in the world, precious stones are the most beautiful.”
“ The diamond bright in glittering rays,
Its great Creator's power displays.” On the evening of the same day in which Rupert had visited the museum, his father walked with him over the fields. As they looked towards the west, the sun was about to set, and the sky was lit up with yellow, and blue, and purple, and gold. So intensely bright were the heavens above, that molten gold and liquid diamonds would not have equalled them in brilliancy. The sun was altogether unbearable. Rupert was in raptures as he gazed on the kindling skies, and while tears sprang to his eyes, cried out, “ There is nothing equal to this! The skies are by far the most beautiful sight in the whole world.”
“ The sun, in all his glory, cries,
My Maker placed me in the skies ! Mr. Mason then reminded Rupert of the different opinions he had given, at different times, respecting shells, flowers, birds, insects, fish, reptiles, precious stones, and the skies, as the most beautiful things in the world. God,” said he, 66 has indeed made creation very beautiful, and
“ If beauty thus on earth excels,
What must the heaven be where he dwells ?” I hope that the time will come, Rupert, when you will see as much beauty in God's revelation as in his creation ; for the love of God was greater in sending his Son to die for sinners, than in arraying flowers, and birds, and precious stones, and other things, with glowing and sparkling hues. The more we know and the better we understand both his word and his works, the more clearly shall we discern his power, his wisdom, and his goodness. " Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !- For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things : to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Rom. xi. 33–36.
THE DEATH OF A CHRISTIAN. The first departiny parishioner I was called to attend (the late Mr. Secombe, of Polwin) was an experienced believer, whose consistent life and blameless conversation had gained for him the esteem even of some who were not themselves actuated by religious principle. He was in a declining state for some time before I commenced my ministry here, and it was evident on my first visit that soon the mortal tenement would cease to possess its spiritual inhabitant. Of this fact he himself was quite conscious, but the near approach of death caused him no alarm; and when I stood beside the couch of that dying believer, witnessed the heavenly composure of his countenance, and heard him say, in accents of genuine humility, “I am going home to glory,” I felt this one deep and all-absorbing desire take possession of my breast, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.”
It was a scene of eternal interest. There was more than mere human power sustaining the weak and expended frame. In the midst of most severe sufferings there was the meekness of patience. In the midst of weeping friends, there was a holy composedness of spirit. In the midst of his exultation over death, an unfeigned humility was manifest. There was no extravagance, and there was no display. All was calm, all was peaceful, all was reality.
You beheld before you a fellow-mortal walking “through the valley of the shadow of death,” and yet “ fearing no evil.” You could see the ravages of death in his pale countenance and emaciated body; but you could perceive also an energy from the quickening Spirit in the glistening of his dying eye, and in the cheerful accents of praise to the Redeemer, which issued from his parched lips. I could have wished that you had all been there to witness the solemn scene, and to receive that lesson which it so forcibly taught; namely, while we live, to live unto the Lord; and when we die, to die unto the Lord; that, whether living or dying, we may be the Lord's.
This is the lesson which God is continually desiring to teach us.
Both in his word and in his providence there is a loud and constant call upon us to remember that we are not our own,” but that we are bought” with the price of blood, and that the “ precious” blood of the Son of God; and therefore, that we are bound to “ live no longer to ourselves, but to Him that died for us, and that rose again.”.
Rev. J. Stevenson.
THE NEGRO JAMES. Few people, perhaps, reflect how much domestic life may be either sweetened or embittered by the performance of duty, on both sides, between masters and servants. The former are often imperious and inconsiderate, and while overlooking their own faults, seem to find an excuse for all when they declare that servants are “ the greatest plagues in life.” The latter, on the other hand, are but too apt to abuse confidence, to presume on indulgence, and to practise deception, even if they do not proceed to actual dishonesty. Were the apostolic rule observed, how happy and blessed would be the result for both parties. “ Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers ; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart ; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And ye, masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven ; neither is there respect of persons with him," Eph. vi. 5-9.
Servants have much greater means of doing good than they may imagine. They are necessarily let into many of the private affairs of families, and are witnesses of many secret griefs and annoyances that are veiled from the common eye; and which, if they are well principled, and of kind feelings, they may often alleviate.
A gentleman brought with him from the West Indies a little negro, to whom he was a most kind master, and the boy's heart was bound to him by the ties of gratitude.
In consequence of a severe attack of inflammation Mr. P. lost his sight, and it became James's office to lead him about, which he did with the tenderest caution ; warning him of everything that was in the way, lest he should be startled by coming against it unexpectedly. In an evil hour Mr. P., who had lost his first wife, married a lady, who, instead of cheering his home, rendered it most uncomfortable by her wretched temper. All his quiet habits were interfered with by her zeal for arrangement; and if her husband, who was one of the mildest of men, remonstrated, he was assailed by such an outpouring of invective, that he soon desisted from all opposition and allowed her to have her own way; but, as often happens with