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represented by a group of small figures holding palms, and placed immediately beneath the altar or throne, sustaining the. Gospel, the cross, and the instruments of the passion of our Lord.”
“I saw in one of the old French Cathedrals, I think at Aix, a pietare, not good nor agreeable as a work of art, but striking from the peculiar conception. In the midst an altar, and on it a cross, and the Lamb without blemish ; around, on the earth, lay the martyred Innocents bleeding, dead; a little higher up their spirits were ascending with palms in their hands; and above all, the infant Christ, enthroned, received them into heaven with outstretched arms."
“ The most beautiful devotional representation of the martyred Innocents, the most appropriate, the most significant in sentiment, I could cite, is the altar-piece in the church of the Foundling Hos. pital at Florence (which I may observe, en passant, preceded by 200 years the first Institution of that kind in France, by more than 300 the first in England). This altar-piece represents the Virgin and the infant Christ enthroned in glory; around the throne, the elect; and among them, the most conspicuous are the Innocents, lovely children, with every variety of sweet infantine faces, who look up to the Saviour, as in supplication, and point to their wounds, which yet are not rendered too obtrusive. The sentiment eonveyed is this: "Behold us, who have suffered because of thee, O Saviour! and for our sake, have mercy and have pity on the forsaken little ones, who are brought hither and laid down at thy feet.'»
We close our notice of the Holy Innocents with the heautiful Prayer, which has, through many ages of the Christian Church, been offered up on the day dedicated to their memory; and also the Hymn of “ The Infant Martyrs” from the new Sunday School Hymn Book.
"O God, who out of the mouth of babes and sucklings bast ordained strength, and whose praise the slaughtered infants of Betblehem proclaimed, not by speaking but by dying ; mortify and kill in us, We beseech Thee, all evil propensities and wrong desires, and so strengthen us by Thy grace, that the same holy faith, which we own with our tongues, we may confess also by the innocency of our lives : to the glory of Thy great name, through Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen.
" Jesus, Holy Child from heaven,
Thou for children wast a cbild :
Not by speaking, but by dying,
Hail! sweet band of lovely infants,
Welcoming the Holy Child;
Not by willing, but by dying,
Though too young to know or choose Thee,
They were chosen, Lord, by Thee;
Not by choosing, but by dying,
Prophets-yes, they preached by suffering;
Priests-themselves the sacrifice :
Not by living but by dying,
Jesus, Holy Child from heaven,
Who for children wast a child;
That in living, and in dying,
BY THE EDITOR.
What a mystery time is ! Nothing has so much puzzled philosophers. They cannot tell wbat it is. Its effects we all know, and feel more deeply than we can know. It makes us old, and sweepš us away! It is perfectly irresistible. Nothing, not even the ev. erlasting hills, nor yet the great globe itself, can withstand its power, or survive its victorious onward sweep. What a solemn thing is time!
No wonder, then, that the close of every Old year, and the beginning of the New, should make us thoughtful. It is properly regarded as a monitor to bid us look back whence we came, and forward whither we are going. It is a proper time for a solemn review of life, for the formation of new and better purposes, for penitence and prayer. Hence not only do our natural feelings call for its recognition as a memorial day, but it has always been commemorated by the serious in the way of earnest reflection.
In its true sense, New Year's day is a religious holy-day, as much as any other Festival day of the Church Year. It celebrates the circumcision of Christ; and as baptism has taken the place of circumcision, it is made the occasion of calling to mind our baptism. In this way, it has always been commemorated in the Church, as may be seen from the lessons, prayers, and services prescribed for the day in the Liturgies. In later times, and especially
in this country, this feature of the day has, to a great extent, fallen into the back-ground, and the civil character of the day has been made more prominent. Hence, among many, it is regarded mere. ly as the day, which begins the Civil Year.
This last feature of the day need not be overlooked, even when its churchly idea is made prominent. The truo idea of circumci. sion, and, in like manner, the true idea of baptism, also furnishes a transition point in every one's history in time. It is also an end. ing of the old, and a beginning of the new. It is not only the leav. ing behind of an old period of time, but even of an old world, and the entrance on a new course of time and of life. The commemoration of our baptism may properly challenge us to review the past with penitence, and call upon us, with new resolutions, to enter upon a better manner of life. We may properly think of the flight of time, the vanity of this mortal life, and dwell on the solemnity and uncertainty of the future. In short, we may present all such thoughts as are appropriate to the close of the Old, and the begin. ning of the New Year, and yet adhere to the ecclesiastical meaning of the day. Only all this will be done from a different ground, from other motives, and for other reasons; and by so doing, present them with more true solemnity and with better effect.
Taking this view of the day, it is plain that nothing is gained, but much lost, by suffering the civil character of the day to be made prominent. Which is the more impressive thought to prosent on New Year's day: That this mortal life is vaiu because an. other year is gone ; or to say, it is vain, because by our baptism we have renounced it, declared it as unsatisfying, and have set our faces and lives to escape from its vanity into the new, satisfying, and enduring kingdom of Jesus Christ ? Certainly this last! This is the only point from which the vanity of the world may be truly seen. There is a great deal of feeling of the vanity of this life, which is mere sentiment- a mere morbid feeling, wbich results in no fruits of a better life. But when we recall the fact, that we have escaped from its beggarly elements into the fellowship of Christ's death and life, and are exhorted to regard the world as vain and vanishing, because we have renounced it, we feel a new power beneath and behind our wills, which gives true nerve to our sense of its vanity, and at the same time something which gives us power to attempt and carry forward a new and better life.
New Year, in its civil character, furnishes to many, even worldly people, a half-pleasant kind of morbid indulgence in sweet and soothing melancholy. But does this make them better ? Facts declare-No! Instead of being merely useless, it is positively injurious—"the sorrow of the world which worketh death." To effect a better life, something more is necessary than to see the Fanity of tbis present empty existence: this must be seen in the light of a new life. Volney did not become a better man mourning among the desolations of cities in ruins; on the contrary, he only thereby made the sad song of bis unbelief more sweet to him and to others. Christianity shows a deep insight in making all its holy. days, commemorations of the victories of life. It does not turn our minds to self-impelled vagaries and dreamings; but rather, by its earnest battle cries, summons us to gird up our loins, and planting ourselves by a firm faith on the vantage ground of grace, to go forward with nerve and vigor, into the full possession of that life, in the fruition of which vanity and death are forever left be. hind.
It looks very plausible, in the way it is now generally done, to turn this day into the channel of mere vague reflections on the vanity of life, and thus to ignore its old churchly character. But a more serious consideration of the subject will not fail to convince the thoughtful, that it is not thereby improved, but only made comparatively of none effect by invented traditions. The tenden. cy must be-as facts prove it has been-to securalize the day entirely, and make it a day of fun and frolic. Indeed this is too much the case with all the holy-days of the Christian Year. The moment they are diverted from their true original meaning and intent, they go down-down-down—till they are fully and fairly of the earth, earthy.
Why has this day so degenerated from its proper use as to bave become prevailingly a day for vain, sinful amusement, and fleshly indulgence? Is it not because the Church has too much surrendered it to the world ? It has not held the minds of the people to it as a day of solemn and grateful commemoration of the new life which Holy Baptism signs and scals, and from this a thoughtless world has taken occasion to make it a day of free revelling for the old nature and the old life, which by our Baptism we have renoun. ced. The best way, and the only way, to restore it to its proper use, is to restore it to its proper meaning in the minds of men.
Let the Church bells ring on New Year's day as in days of old. Let the solemn uncertainties of its months and days be entered upon around the Altars of Christ. Let it again be a penitential commemoration of our first renunciation of the world, the flesh, and the devil, with all their works and ways, and a joyful celebration of the new life which we have in Christ. Let this be done, and its true meaning and use will soon be restored in the minds of men, Let it again be religiously observed, and it will acquire again its religious power over our hearts.
AN IRON EGG.-In Dresden there is an iron egg, the history of which is something like this: A young prince sent this iron egg to a lady to whom he was betrothed. She received it in her hand, and looked at it with disdain. In her indignation that he should send her such a gift, she cast it to the earth. When it touched the ground a spring, cunningly hidden in the egg, opened and a silver yolk rolled out. She touched a secret spring in the yolk and a golden chicken was revealed; she touched a spring in the chicken and a crown was found within; she touched a spring in in the crown and within it was a diamond wedding ring. There is a moral to the story.
She is evidently watching beside the bed of her sick child. There, on the toilet, is the cup of tea, the vial of medicine, tho candlestick, and beside them the watch to tell the progress of the weary hours. There is anxiety in her countenance, but this is so tompered with meekness and submission, as to make the whole face seem serene. The position of her hands denote patience and prayer. All this is well accounted for by the presence of the Word of God, and the Book of devotion before her on the chair.
The age of the child is evidently that interesting one, when those wise and witty sayings begin to be heard which please so much the parental heart. The flower is beginning to bloom. Hopes patiently nursed through earlier infancy are about to be realized, when the child shall be able to respond in a measure intelligently to the mother's words. But sickness has come ! Perhaps death may do his work! The deep anxieties of such a watching only a mother's heart can know.
It is not a scene of poverty. There is much of an outward character to relieve the watching of apparent sadness. Yet “ the Wife" is alone. The husband is absent-perhaps necessarily at bis place of business—perhaps called by business to a distant city. “ The Wife" is at home alone—and her boy is sick. Only wives can appreciate that.
We will not suppose that he is away at some fashionable drink. ing-house or saloon, diverting and indulging himself at cards with others of bis kind, making merry over their cups! This we can hardly believe. Yet, how often is even this realized ! Such in. haman coldness and cruelty would be beyond belief, did not facts frequently illustrate its actual existence. In such instances, the patience and meek devotion of the wife shine out the more beautifully. We are told that the word husband comes from the words "house-band,” “the band and bond of the house, who sball bind and hold it together.”
“ The name of the husband, what is it to say?
Of wife and of household the band and the stay." This being the meaning of husband, how badly does such a husband answer its meaning! He scatters, instead of binds, the family. It is in fact the wife, in such instances, tbat binds the family together.
How significant, in this view, is the word wife. “ It belongs," says Trench,“ to the same family of words as 'weave,' 'woof,' "web,' and the German 'weben. It is a title given to her, who