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be despised. He has slightly changed the fashion of his garb. He appears sober, solid, neat, cleanly, and not a little ornamental, and cortainly quite pleasant to the eyo.
Of his increase in wisdom it does not become his parent to speak. Parents have generally a natural weakness in regarding their chil. dren as particularly smart! What remarkable prodegies our own children are ! What remarkable things they say! What winning ways they have! Though these things others do not always see so clearly as we do ourselves; nor can this be expected, as they are not so much around them. Besides, they have intelligent and remarkable children themselves, and have enough to doin admiring their originalities. We shall be careful not to expose ourselves in this way; but content ourselves in letting others judge of any aptness our son may manifest. We would, however, remark for him, that his education is by no means completed as yet. He knows his deficiencies; and is, as he hopes, yearly learning more, for which ho has a great desire.
He is very fond of social life ; and has no objections to being in. troduced into the company of ladies even. But this is not that he may talk on unsuitable subjects as youths of his age sometimes begin to do! Better motives actuate him. He knows the advantages. of female society, in taking away much of the awkwardness and even rudeness of manners, so apt to grow on young men when excluded from the refining society of ladies. We bope, therefore, that our lady friends will introduce him among their young companions, su that be may feel free to make at least a monthly visit to them. We hope they will all find him sufficiently intelligent to make his calls agreeable, and perhaps profitable to them.
We may also remark, that young men need not fear to introduce him to their particular lady friends, from whom they are themselves absent. He will take pleasure in paying them monthly visits, bearing their kind remembrances. No fear need be entertained, that he will, on such occasions, interfere with any existing arrangements ! But as he devotes all his time to such visits, he expects to have his expenses paid, which amounts only to one dollar for twelve visits.
Parents can also send him to their absent sons and daughters for the same price. In such cases, he will talk to them of home, and the scenes of their childhood, and will tell them how beautiful and scriptural it is for children, oven wlion grown up to adult age, to remember, honor, and love tbeir parents and their first homes. There are many parents who send him thus; and he is particularly fond of such errands,
May wo pot ask Pastors to encourage his visits among their young members ? They will find him an earnest co-worker. Though of a cheerful spirit, he is also serious, and a decided friend of child-like piety. Though he does not like to speak gloomily to youny Christians, he always ancourages a serene and peaceful faitls. He loves to look on the bright side of things, and prefers, like the syn-dial, to “count the hours that shine;" for he thinks that, as
bright surfaces best reflect the light of the sun, so bright sides of the heart turned towards God will always take in most of the rays of His love.
The fourteenth year! Forgive us for feeling a little of the pride of age. But we want to live longer still; who can blame us! We, therefore, ask the reader to get us up a list of subscribers in his or her neighborhood or congregation. We are not ashamed to say that we need subscribers. But we have faith, at the same time, that the same kind Providence which has favored our bumble Magazine thus far, will raise up friends for it in future. Hence, onder our old banner of “Life, Light, and Love," we wish our readers a Happy New Year, and hopefully travel on.
THE PHEBE FAMILY.
BY THE EDITOR.
It is difficult to trace the history of a family when the family records bave not been carefully kept. This, it must be confessed, bas of late years been by many too much neglected. Family Bibles, in many cases not much used for reading purposes, are beginning even to have not so much as the family Register regularly kept. The same neglect is found in some places in regard to the Church records, no entries of births and baptisms being made. We think it could be easily shown, that this whole tendency is bad, and leads to frequent confusion.
It would no doubt be impossible to trace the outward history of the Phebe family-we mean its descent by blood. The best we can do is to take for granted, that all those females who bear & spiritual likeness to that family of course belong to it. In this way we may perhaps find members of the family in all parts of the Church ; though, it niust be confessed, that the family is not so large as might be desired in view of its excellence. Every congregation that can boast of a single representative of that noble spiritual blcod, has reason to congratulate itself. Yet even where it exists the members of it have considerably degenerated. This must be confessed.
The Phebe family is a very ancient one ; and wbat our Saviour said as to men's judgment of wine is also true in regard to this family: “ The oldest is best.” It will be interesting, no doubt, and may be even instructive, to our lady readers, whether they claim kindred with the family or not, to find here some account of that ancestorial mother from whom all our present Phebes are supposed to descend. All we know of her is contained in a brief extract, which we shall here give, from a letter written by St. Paul to the
Church at Rome about the year of our Lord, 57 or 58. It runs as follows:
“I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant (Deaconess) of the church which is at Cenchrea : that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints; and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she bath need of you : for she hath been a succorer of many, and of myself also.”
Her name, Phebe, somewhat attracts our attention. If sermons may be found“ in stones,” as a certain poet supposes, there may be some wisdom also in a name. It is true another poet asks, “What's in a name ?” as if he would imply that there is nothing in it. But we are most decidedly not of that mind.
A pame reveals more of the antecedents of the person who bears it, than perhaps even a poet, in his thoughtless moments at least, would imagine. We have noticed, that when any great divine, statesman, military general, or other representative man is figuring on the stage of public life, and the popular mind is engaged with his name, a great many children about that time are ornamented with his name all over the land. If this indicates anything--and it certainly does—it means, that in the hearts of the parents there is a quiet desire, that their child may some day become great and good, like the one after whom it is named.
There are parents, however, who are not much charmed with the glare and glory of popular men. They have no particular liking for statesmen or military heroes, with their honors; and have consequently no disposition to name their children after them. They have more aesthetical taste; and hence choose names for their children from regions of the beautiful. Thus we suppose have originated such names as Rose, Grace, Laura, Clara, and many others. In any case, there is always underlying this naming of children, a secret desire that the character and spirit of the child may in future answer, in some degree, to the nature of the thing of beauty from which its name has been derived.
What a touching bope is this of the fond parental heart! O that it could always be realized! We all know what an event the naming of a child is. How the matter is talked over. How many things are taken into consideration. How tastes are found to differ. And what a relief it is, when the name is finally agreed upon, not only by the parents, but to the satisfaction of the grandparents, and an innumerable generation of uncles and aunts, be. side a goodly number of particular friends. All the while the little Innocent is lying in sweet smiles, and in blessed unconciousness of a matter, in which it is after all so much interested ! For is it not itself, to which this name, now fixed upon it, must hang liko another self to the end of its life! Yea, the name by which it is to be praised or blamed, loved or abused, honored or dishonored, un. til it shall escape from all buman fondling or bandying in the sweet rest of the grave !
We tell thee, kind reader, there is something in a name. Rest assured, there was more going on than St. Paul has recorded in his letter, when Phebe received that name, which means "pure, bright, shining, glorious like the sun.” That name permits us to look as through an open window, into the home of her infancy and childhood. It gives us a clue to the character of her parents. It tells us something of what their fond hearts supposed her to be, or desired her to become; and are you willing to deny that these hopes and desires of her parents in regard to her, had something to do with making her what she afterwards became? We are well aware, that, in our rattling and giddy age, the power and significance of names is to a great extent lost. You can find Anslems drunk in the gutter, and hear Monicas swearing around the fish-market; and there are numberless cases of children, who care very little what desires or hopes their parents had in regard to them! But this was not always so. We doubt whether it was as much so among the ancient heathen as it is among many modern professed Christians !
Among the Jews, and also among the early Christians, there was great power in a name. The name which one bore was to him as his standard, which he dare not disgrace; it was as the uplifted banner, under which he went heroically forward to the victories of life. It was the high and solemn vocation of the child to realize the hopes set forth, and fulfill the purport and meaning of its name. Now, as Phebe did bonor her pame, we may easily believe that her parents intended she should, and taught her to do 80; and we may certainly believe also that she endeavored to do so her self. She did adorn her name. She fulfilled the pious hopes and wishes of her parents.
What a broad and beautiful page of her life is here opened up before us! How much of her early life does it reveal! It lets us look back into her infancy; and bids us think, and imagine, and believe as much as we please of her beautiful childhood, her filial reverence and obedience, and the high instincts which moved her young beart to noble purposes. True she may have wandered. She may have been, as she surely was, subject to human infirmities; and yet we see in the light of what she at last attained unto, that a controlling power of excellence never ceased to work in her heart, to shape and determine her life. The bloom of her present character is only the final, and full growth of that infant germ.
It is, therefore, not at all surprising, but only what we should naturally expect, that all the surviving members of her family, even in our day, should still be characterized by this excellent peculiarity of their ancestorial mother. It does still characterize the family. Go into any congregation you please, and if you are even an entire stranger, you need only a brief acquaintance with the female members, to enable you to point out with perfect ease any member of the Phebe family found there. They are all "pure, bright, shining lights.”
There is, for instance, one of the Phebe family belonging to the Union church, a very flourishing congregation located "in the midst of the regions round about." If her parents had one desire stronger than another, it was that their child might be a worthy representa. tive of the ancient family of the Phebes; and Clara, for that was her name-a name they gave her on account of its similarity of meaning with Phebe-seemed anxious even in childhood to realize the hopes of her parents. She had early been taught that a clean, bright, and pure heart is a treasure to be desired and valued above all price. And it really seemed as if the spirit and grace of God had begun with her baptism to renew and sanctify her heart; for she began very early to manifest that beautiful child-piety, which gives such great joy to Christian parents, and affords such cheer. ing hopes for the future. She was very fond of her little prayers, and was always delighted when her mother taught her something good. · Clara was also fond of study and reading. Indeed her parents had to keep her back, lest she might injure her health by too much attention to her books. But she learned fast, and was exceedingly intelligent for her age. She seemed to be convinced, even when yet quite a child, that the brightness and beauty of intelligence were necessary to a fully beautiful life..
Clara knew, for her mother told her, and her Pastor agreed with her mother—that solid reading is best for the full development of the mind. “You know Clara,” her mother used to say, “that you cannot live on floating-island and ice-cream. These may taste pleasant, but they make no one fat and strong. It is just so with this light and trashy reading. A novel may fill your head with castles and fancies whilst you are reading it, and steam up your mind for a few nights into sentimental dreamings; but they will never make your mind stronger or better.”
The reader needs no more than that saying to be convinced, that Clara's mother was a very sensible woman-a true honor to the Phebe family. Her daughter was smart enough to see this for her. self; and hence, though at first solely from love to her mother she always obeyed her, yet as she grew older she only did it the more from reverence for her good judgment in all things pertaining to excellence.
As Clara, in her reading, carefully eschewed all morbid, sentimental, bot-bed literature, and devoted herself to solid reading, you may well believe she grew up into girl-hood with a clear, nervous, well-stored mind. Indeed the pastor noticed, when she attended his catechetical class, before she had begun her fourteenth year, that she had a decided taste and ability for understanding religious doctrines. She could comprehend the nice distinctions, which he was in the habit of making on some points, by way of exciting the thinking powers of his class. But in all the class there was none that seemed so well to take in his teachings as Clara.
So fond was she of doctrine that she attended several courses of lectures even after she had been confirmed. The pastor once declared to a friend, that he verily believed Clara would stand an examina.