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BY THE EDITOR.
It is not in good taste, nor is it pious, to find fault with our forefathers. We sball not make ourselves guilty in this respect in our present article. But-what comes near to it, we must find fault with our general habit in the Middle and Western States, of neglecting rural ornamenting around our dwellings. Among farmers especially, there is in this respect a great deficiency. How many farm-houses there are, which, with every advantage of location, are almost entirely destitute of rural ornamen'al surroundings. Even the few puny fruit-trees that surround the house still leave the yard comparatively bleak and bare.
Twenty years ago we had occasion frequently to pass a certain farm-house in a certain section of the country. We never looked at it without pain and sorrow, and through all these years it has stood out prominently in our memory as a picture of all that is dreary and repulsive. It was a stone house situated on a commanding knoll, some twenty yards from the road, with a cheerful stream winding along the one side of it, at a distance of a few hun. dred paces. Nothing could have been desired in the way of pleasant location which it did not possess. Yet imagine the scene! No fence separated it from the road. The slopes of the knoll around it lay open to the cattle. The swine rooted around the door sill, and rubbed their sides on the corners of the house! Not a tree or shrub near it!
How do you like the picture? Can you imagine that in a house with such surroundings, civilized beings could be content to live? It is even so. And the inmates, if they bappened to be at the door, or outside the house when you passed, seemed the pictures of coutentment. So also did the animals above mentioned, as they rub. bed themselves on the house corners, or nosed the filthy ground before the door! Contemplating the picture we often thought of the poet's line:
“Ifignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.” How snug and comfortable—we often said to ourself-could this home be made; and with what little trouble and expenso. A fence in front to shut out the cattle, and insure a vice carpet of green sod—which last God would provide through His cheering spring showers. The planting of trees, shrubs, and vines, which could be done in a few hours of leisure. And then the singing of birds, that woulc be glad to perform their part of the contract gratis, if only they found some twigs to sit upon. These are the things which that house needed to make it a home comfortable and attractive.
But all these were wanting; and there it stood as lonely, and naked, and dreary, as a milestone on a slate bank beside a neglected turnpike.
Passing the same place some time ago we were amazed to see the change. There was actually a fence before the house! The rest remained as it was twenty years ago. But here is progress ! Twenty years more may even show some sign of trees in the yard. What the swine think of this new movement we have not learned. No doubt every sense of unpleasant irritation along their sides brings back fragrant memories of the old order of things. But the proprietor of the place, very properly, declined consulting the tastes of the inferior orders of creation, and did not allow the mere prejudice of a conservative habit to arrest the tide of improvement which flowed in his own mind. Thus the fence was made in the face of vulgar public opinion !
We may, however, give undue credit by these remarks. We are not sure that the old proprietor is still in occupancy. It may be that a new owner has come into possession. If so, the credit of shutting out the swine from the door is due to him! In this case also there may be hope of future improvement. To this no one could reasonably object.
But we are weary of writing this kind of history. The factors are too dull to furnish us with the requisite inspiration. The case before us is, we confess, a somewhat extreme one. At least we have not seen anything to come quite up-or down—to it. Yel are there not many that approximate to it? It must be acknowledged that far too little attention is paid to rural ornamenting among our farmers and among many that are not farmers.
Still there is in many regions marked improvement. We occasionally see dwellings in rural districts, decently, cosily, and charm. ingly embosomed in clumps of rural beauty. And how the picture charms the eye, and pleases the taste! Such spots of beauty are never forgotten, and we always look out for them when we pass the same road again. Then, what a comfort such homes must be to those who inbabit them; and what pleasant associations are connected with them in the minds of the members of the household, when, by the natural order of life, they are scattered and settled in other homes.
Let not these matters be regarded as small, and unworthy of serious attention. IIome is something more than mere location; and there are other and higher things belonging to life than bread and butter.
Spring opens again. Not only the time of the singing of birds,'' but also the time for the planting of trees, has come. Plant trees, therefore; and again we say plant trees. Like those in ancient Eden they are “pleasant to the eyes.” There is, perhaps, more meaning than we at first sight imagine in the fact that when it is said that God put the man which He had formed into the garden of Eden, it is immediately added: “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.”
THE BOWER OF PRAYER,
BY THE EDITOR.
Retire to your bower,
In the evening's calm hour,
When nature is still,
And the fresh dews distil,
0, go to your bower,
When the bee leaves the flower
Though night bringeth fear,
If your Saviour is near,
Flee, flee to your bower,
When clouds darkly lower,
Thy heart and thine eyes,
Lift in prayer to the skies
.. Though near thee there be
Not a mortal to see
Yet Jesus above you,
Will listen, and love you,
GOOD ADVICE.-Learn one thing at a time; learn that thing well; learn its connection, as far as possible, with other things; and believe that to know everytbing of something is better than to know something of everything.
DEVICES FOR DOING GOOD.
BY THE EDITOR.
Men who are desirous of succeeding in business know how im. portant it is to be on the alert-to watch chances—to discover the path of fortune-to lay hold of every legitimate means of success. This wisdom, when it is honest and honorable, is a credit to them. It belongs to man to be lord over circumstances, and he is in his true sphere and position when he shows this superior tact.
If such wisdom is legitimate and indispensable in mere business life, it is much more so in every higber end and aim of life. Without some tact in honorable devices one is no more likely to succeed in that which belongs to the higher interests of life, than in that which is merely pecuniary. This virtue is necessary in every attempt toward mental and moral improvement. Wisdom must know how to obviate or overcome the many hindrances that lie in the way. We must take advantage of circumstances. We must make a wise use of time. By proper devices seemingly unconquerable difficulties may be overcome, and a wise and earnest spirit will cut its way tbrough the darkest discouragements.
Instances have been known where mechanics, by dint of wise devices, have been enabled to pursue some useful study in connection with their daily work. À work on grammar or geography was placed open before them, into which a glance was cast at convenient intervals, and then the matter thus recognized was digested while the work went on. We know an instance of a farmer. boy who kept a book constantly in his pocket, which he read while his horses were resting, or at noon while they were taking their feed. Instances are plenty of persons wbo studied useful books wbile riding on horseback, or in carriages, from one place to another. We know of a company of shoemakers working in the same room, who hit upon the device of having one of the hands con. stantly reading; they took the book by turns so that one had not to lose more than an hour each half day; and for this small sacri. fice of time from their work they were recoiving a scientific lecture as long as the day. The reading was interrupted only when the book at intervals was laid aside in order, that they might talk over and discuss what they bad been reading. We know an instance of a family in which the custom prevailed of one reading a chapter from the Bible during each meal when all sat at table.
The instance is well known, for it went the round of the papers a few years ago, of a negro slave, wbo made himself master of the Latin and Greek Grammars, wbile working from noon till night at the blacksmith's fire. The alphabet he wrote upon the hearthstone before him with a coal, and the grammar he fixed, leaf by leaf, into the top of his cap, which he held before him in one hand, while he drew the bellows with the other, and thus committed its contents to memury. He was afterwards delivered from slavery by the benevolence of good men who bought his freedom. He is now in Liberia, in Africa, where he is preaching the gospel, and is known throughout the Christian world as “the learned slave !" When were ever circumstances more against a man, and where was ever such a glorious triumph over seemingly insurmountable difficulties to the improvement of the mind by the aid of good devices ? There is no one who reads this, but ought to be ashamed to speak of difficulties, as an excuse for remaining in ignorance. Let only the will exist, and a way is easily devised.
A celebrated man, who has been president of a college in Penn. sylvania, who is now pastor of a large Church in one of the Atlan. tic cities, and who has written a work in two volumes, wbich we have seen on the shelves of book stores in many cities, and which can be seen almost any place this man, when he was a boy desired to study, but was poor, and could not until he went to a col. lege and offered to black boots and shoes for his board and education. This device succeeded; he was received ; and though he came to the institution humbly, and poor, and ignorant, he left it with hon. or, and has made for himself a name and reputation wide as this nation, and which will, no doubt, go down crowned with honors to unborn generations ! All this by the excellent device of supporting himself at college by blacking boots! Does anyone say be stooped low. We answer he did not. It is an honest device, and the only road to excellence and honor lies in that direction. It is a truth high and eternal as the heavens: "He that bumbleth himself shall be exalted ; and he that exalteth himself shall be abased.”
These are a few specimens of the many instances, which the memory of almost any one will call up, of the devices which persons have thought out for their own moral and mental improvement. He that has really a desire to do good to himself will not be at a loss, but will readily 'hit upon such as will be ricbly successful in his case.
All such devices, as tend to set in motion good influences with a view of doing good to others, are to be commended. A good device by which good can be done is often worth more than riches and station for the benefit of man. If one can think out some happy plan to do good, that shall be in accordance with God's will, he may start a stream of bealthful influences that may in time become a national blessing.
There is a fine instance of this given by Solomon. “This wisdom have I seen under the sun," he says, “and it seemed great unto me: There was a little city, and few men were within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Then said I, wisdom is better than strength.” He then adds: “The words of wise men