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A PARABLE ON BROTHERLY LOVE.
1. In those days there was no worker of iron in all the land. And the merchants of Midian passed by with their camels, bearing spices, and myrrh, and balm, and wares of iron.
2. And Reuben bought an axe of the Ishmaelite merchants, which he prized highly, for there was none in his father's house.
3. And Simeon said unto Reuben his brother, Lend me, I pray thee, thine axe. But he refused and would not.
4. And Levi also said unto him, My brother, lend me, pray thee, thine ase; and he refused him also.
5. Then came Judah unto Reuben, and entreated him, saying, Lo! thou lovest me, and I have always loved thee; do not refuse me the use of thine axe.
6. But Reuben turned from him, and refused him likewise.
7. Now it came to pass, that Reuben hewed timber on the bank of the river, and his axe fell therein, and he could by no means find it.
8. But Simeon, Levi, and Judah, had sent a messenger after the Ishmaelites with money, and had bought for themselves each an axe.
9. Then came Reuben unto Simeon, and said, Lo! I have lost mine axe, and my work is unfinished ; lend me thine, I pray thee.
10. And Simeon answered him, saying, Thou wouldest not lend me thine axe, therefore will I not lend thee mine.
11. Then went he unto Levi, and said unto him, My brother, thou knowest my loss and my necessity; lend me, I pray thee, thine axe.
12. And Levi reproached him, saying, Thou wouldest not lend me thine axe when I desired it, but I will be better than thou, and will lend thee mine.
13. And Reuben was grieved at the rebuke of Levi, and being ashamed, turned from him, and took zot the axe, but sought his brother Judah.
14. And as he drew near, Judah beheld his countenance as it were covered with grief and shame; and he prevented him, saying, My brother, I know thy loss; but why should it trouble thee ? Lo! have I not an axe that will serve both thee and me? Take it, I pray thee, and use it as thine own.
15. And Reuben fell on his neck, and kissed him, with tears, saying, Thy kindness is great, but thy goodness in forgiving me is greater. Thou art indeed any brother, and whilst I live will I surely love thee.
16. And Judah said, Let us also love our other brethren ; behold, are we not all of one blood ?
17. And Joseph saw these things, and reported them to his father Jacob.
18. And Jacob said, Reuben did wrong, but he repented. Simeon also did wrong; and Levi was not altogether blameless.
19. But the heart of Judah is princely; Judah hath the soul of a king. His father's children shall bow down before him, and he shall rule over his brethren.
No. I. From Tuesday, Jan. 28, to Tuesday, Feb. 4, 1728-9.
Mr. Andrew Bradford,- I design this to acquaint you, that I, who have long been one of your courteous readers, have lately entertained some thought of setting up for an author myself; not out of the least vanity, I assure you, or desire of showing my parts, but purely for the good of my country.
I have often observed with concern, that your Mercury is not always equally entertaining. The delays of ships expected in, and want of fresh advices from Europe, make it frequently very dull; and I find the freezing of our river has the same effect on news as trade. With more concern have I continu. ally observed the growing vices and follies of my country-folk; and though reformation is properly the con. cern of every man, that is, every one ought to mend one ; yet it is too true in this case, that what is every body's business is no body's business ; and the business is done accordingly. I therefore, upon mature deliberation, think fit to take no body's business wholly into my own hands; and, ont of zeal for the public good, design to erect myself into a kind of censor morum; purposing, with your allowance, to make use
of the Weekly Mercury as a vehicle in which my remonstrances shall be conveyed to the world.
I am sensible I have in this particular undertaken a very unthankful office, and expect little besides my labour for my pains. Nay, it is probable, I may displease a great number of your readers, who will not very well like to pay ten shillings a year for being told of their faults. But as most people delight in censure when they themselves are not the objects of it, if they are offended at my publicly exposing their private views, I promise they shall have the satisfactiou, in a very little time, of seeing their good friends and neighbours in the same circumstances.
However, let the fair sex be assured, that I shall always treat them and their affairs with the utmost decency and respect. I intend now and then to dedicate a chapter wholly to their service; and if my lectures any way contribute to the embellishment of their minds, and brightening of their understandings, without offending their modesty, I doubt not of having their favour and encouragement.
It is certain, that no country in the world produces naturally finer spirits than ours; men of genius for every kind of science, and capable of acquiring to perfection every qualification that is in esteem among mankind. But as few here have the advantage of good books, for want of which good conversation is still more scarce, it would doubtless have been very acceptable to your readers, if, instead of an old out. of-date article from Muscovy or Hungary, you had entertained them with some well-chosen extract from a good author. This I shall sometimes do, when I happen to have nothing of my own to say that I think of more consequence. Sometimes I purpose to des liver lectures of morality or philosophy, and (because I am naturally inclined to be meddling with things that do not concern me), perhaps I may sometimes talk politics. And if I can by any means furnish out a weekly entertainment for the public that will give a rational diversion, and at the same time be in. structive to the readers, I shall think my leisure hours well employed; and if you publish this, 1 hereby in. vite all ingenious gentlemen and others (that approve of such an undertaking,) to my assistance and correspondence.
It is like by this time you have a curiosity to be acquainted with my name and character. As I do not aim at public praise, I design to remain concealed ; and there are such numbers of our family and relations at this time in the country, that though I have signed my name at full length, I am not under the least apprehension of being distinguished and discovered by it. My character indeed I would favour you with, but that I am cautious of praising myself, lest I should be told my trumpeter 's dead; and I cannot find in my heart, at present, to say any thing to my own disadvantage.
It is very common with authors, in their first performances, to talk to their readers thus : If this meets with a suitable reception, or, if this should meet with due encouragement, I shall hereafter publish, &c. This only manifests the value they put on their own writings, since they think to frighten the public into their applause, by threatening, that unless you approve what they have already wrote, they intend never to write again ; when perhaps it may not be a pin matter, whether they ever do or no. As I have